Crowder College has once again announced an increase in enrollment for the spring semester.

Crowder College has once again announced an increase in enrollment for the spring semester.

With 4, 976 students enrolled, total enrollment jumped 5.33 percent from the spring 2012 semester, when 4,724 students had signed up for classes.

The number of credit hours students enrolled in also increased by 3.86 percent from last spring, up to 46,643 credit hours.

Jim Riggs, Crowder's director of admissions, said he believes the continued increase in enrollment numbers is due to a combination of what Crowder offers, including, its several locations and value.

"Geography does come into it because the new sites have increased enrollment," Riggs said. "Our enrollment across the board has been strong."

While the spring enrollment is up this year, that number has decreased from the college's enrollment numbers last fall, when Crowder reached a record enrollment at 5,590 students.

However, Riggs said a higher fall enrollment than spring enrollment is common at community colleges and universities alike.

"It's very standard," Riggs said. "I think we did a pretty good job of holding our students."

He said some factors that contribute to a lower spring than fall enrollment are the loss of December graduates, transfers and the lack of an influx of recent high school graduates that is common in August.

"We're very pleased," Riggs said. "I know the numbers across the state are not good."

Both fall and spring enrollment numbers have grown the past several semesters, and Riggs said it has been a "long, long time" since Crowder has seen a decrease in overall enrollment, and he plans to work to keep it that way.

Last December, the Crowder Board of Trustees voted to waive out-of-state tuition, cutting the cost of attendance down to three tuition rates: in-district, out-of-district, and international.

Those students living out-of-state will no longer pay the $134 per credit hour for out-of-state tuition, and will instead qualify for the $105 per credit hour out-of-district tuition rate.

The Crowder College district, which consists mostly of Newton and McDonald Counties, is made up of the Neosho R-5, Seneca R-7, East Newton R-6, Diamond R-4 and McDonald County R-1 school districts.

Riggs said that change, which goes into effect this fall semester, could contribute to future enrollment growth.
"I'm optimistic," Riggs said. "We're going to have to do some recruiting. I think we can attract more students in the border areas."

He said the future McDonald County campus, to be located on Larry Neff Drive in Jane, will also be a plus, attracting students from nearby Northwest Arkansas.

"That in-state tuition represents a very competitive rate," Riggs said.