Three local colleges, a four-year public school, a four-year private school and a two-year satellite school had three different enrollment stories to tell last week — each a success story.
The Ozark Campus of Arkansas Tech University, boasting some new career-oriented health-care programs, reported a 17 percent enrollment increase — to 1,651 students — over the spring 2011 semester. That’s a whopping 36 percent increase over spring 2010. The challenging economy accounts for some of the people in those programs, and it’s a cause for celebration that ATU-Ozark is there, ready and willing to provide workforce retraining.
Enrollment at the University of the Ozarks at Clarksville showed a small increase — seven students — over the spring semester a year ago. The more important statistic is the increase in the fall-to-spring retention rate to 93 percent. That’s an increase for the private, four-year university, and one of its best rates in recent years, a spokesperson told the Times Record on Thursday.
Retention is vital for private colleges, and a high rate shows that a school is doing a good job on the front end by recruiting students who will succeed and be happy at the institution. At the U of O, it seems students make a connection on campus and find the resources they need to thrive academically and personally.