Crowder College's enrollment growth continued this semester, in part due to an increase in dual credit enrollment, Director of Admissions Jim Riggs told the Crowder Board of Trustees in a Thursday morning presentation.

Riggs reported a 4.6 percent overall increase compared to fall 2012, with a total of 5,845 students enrolled across Crowder's sites.

Riggs said fulltime enrollment, which is when a student is taking at least 15 credit hours, has also increased by 4.3 percent, up to 3,614 students.

"Since 2006, we have had positive enrollment increases, so we're really pleased about that," Riggs said. "As we look at the overall numbers they're very good. I think as you look across the state at other institutions you'll find these numbers look very favorable."

Riggs said a big part of the college's increased enrollment numbers come from the huge spike in dual enrollment.
Riggs said Crowder has seen a 21 percent increase in dual credit hours.

When Riggs reported the numbers of the 10 separate Crowder sites to board members, he noted that Neosho's numbers also include all online and dual credit students.

The Neosho site's enrollment, combined with the online and dual credit, shows a substantial increase, up more than 500 students.

While that number amounts to a 15 percent increase for the Neosho numbers, Riggs said even with dual credit and online numbers removed from the Neosho enrollment, the main campus has seen enrollment grow by 12 percent.

"A big part of our increase this year is in our dual credit, dual enrollment numbers," Riggs said. "We've done very well with about a 21 percent increase in that area and of course that's helped our overall numbers considerably."

Riggs said with some students taking courses at more than one Crowder College location, the individual site enrollment numbers are in some instances split.
For example, Riggs said if a student takes three credit hours at Neosho and three credit hours at Cassville, that student would reflect as half a student in each of the campuses' enrollment figures.

The Carthage site showed the most growth for Crowder, growing from 14 students to 61 enrolled in a course there.
"Increased offerings is the primary reason why we have increased enrollment at Carthage," Riggs said.

He said the enrollment situation is similar at Monett and Greenfield, where they saw an increase of 33 students and 10 students respectively.

McDonald County's enrollment increased by six students, up from 93 to 99 enrolled for the fall semester.

Other campuses saw a slight decrease in head count, including Cassville, Nevada, Webb City, Lamar and Mt. Vernon.

"It's a very positive report, if you look at it by location I don't think we want to draw a lot of big conclusions about pluses and minuses," Riggs said "We want to look at the big picture and see that overall we are serving our service area very well and that we are experiencing a very welcome increase."

Riggs noted that several Crowder locations have some overlap, with what he calls the "circles of influence", a 20-mile diameter around the college's locations overlapping each other in many cases.

He said he believes that overlap is a good reason why the college sees overall increases.

"What it results in is in our service area, the nine-county area, the average drive to a Crowder College class is about 10 miles. So we truly are serving our service area with these locations."

Andy Wood, president of Crowder's Board of Trustees, asked Riggs of the current enrollment numbers are a reflection of the enrollment leveling off.

Riggs said he believes the college has seen that over the past two years, compared to enrollment a few years ago that gave the college double digit percentage increases.

Riggs said leveling off for Crowder doesn't necessarily mean enrollment has quit growing, but that the student population is growing in smaller numbers than it had, with two, three and four percent increases.

"We probably would've had trouble sustaining that, so in a sense it's probably good for us to see a leveling off," Riggs said, referring to the double digit enrollment growth in past years.

Riggs said compared to other community colleges in the state, Crowder's enrollment numbers are looking good.
"As a general rule across the state they're not positive," he said.