By Linda Lockhart
One in a series of Outlook stories examining enrollment and retention.
Increased enrollment on Ohio University's regional campuses -- 504 more students than last fall -- led all categories of enrollment growth this year. Overall, regional campus enrollment increased by about 6.5 percent to a total of 8,323 students.
While nearly half of the increase, about 250 students, can be attributed to special promotions designed to help some students get started through tuition-free and deeply discounted classes, the five campuses credit a variety of factors for the other half. Many cited a greater focus on relationships with high school students in their communities and service areas.
Increasing the number of Ohioans with college degrees is a major emphasis of the University System of Ohio, which seeks to have an additional 230,000 students enrolled in Ohio colleges and universities within the next decade.
Here's a look at each of the campuses' enrollment figures.
The Chillicothe campus had the greatest growth of any regional campus, with a nearly 14 percent increase, or 254 students. Fall enrollment is 2,090. The campus has increased its visits to area high schools about 10-fold in the past year, according to T.J. Eveland, manager of student recruitment. It also is participating in one of about 40 pilot programs for Ohio's Seniors to Sophomores initiative, with 11 students attending through that opportunity. Eveland noted that a more aggressive marketing effort and development of a long-range academic schedule contributed to both new enrollment and retention. In addition, about 60 students entered through the Experience College program that offered a free class to eligible prospects.
The only regional campus to show a decrease in headcount, Eastern's enrollment is down by 31 students, or 4 percent. The total enrollment is 720. However, the campus has 30 new high school students attending through the Seniors to Sophomores and Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) programs.
Lancaster campus and Pickerington Center
Growing slightly more than 7 percent, the Lancaster campus added 126 students compared to last fall quarter. Enrollment on the Lancaster campus and its satellite Pickerington Center is 1,854. Increased efforts to personally engage prospective students, such as phone calls to all applicants encouraging them to attend orientation, and different approaches in marketing helped improve recruitment and retention, according to Jenny LaRue, public information officer.
Southern campus and Proctorville Center
Fall brought 133 more students, a nearly 8 percent increase. Total enrollment at the Southern campus and its satellite Proctorville Center stands at 1,832. Ohio University-Southern points to increased visibility in high schools as a contributor to its enrollment increase, while the number of new freshmen from Kentucky doubled this year to about 50. Southern officials also cited a more consistent marketing campaign and a deep-discount promotion for eligible prospects that drew more than 60 new students.
The campus' enrollment increased by 22, or just more than 1 percent, to 1,827 students this fall. Dean James Fonseca noted that following the campus' enrollment management plan, which was established four years ago, contributed to the campus holding its own in enrollment. Zanesville attracted more than 130 new students through a Back to School mall promotion.