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story.lead_photo.caption File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/JASON IVESTER Students walk across campus to the Becky Paneitz Student Center on Jan. 30 at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville. The college's board approved Thursday a balanced budget with a 3.1 percent increase over the 2017.

BENTONVILLE -- Northwest Arkansas Community College enrolled 8,308 students for the fall semester, which is a 4.37 percent increase from last year, according to preliminary numbers.

It's the first time since the 2013-14 school year that there's been more than 8,000 students enrolled, the college announced Tuesday.

Meeting information

The Northwest Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees’ next meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in the third floor board room in Burns Hall on campus.

The 8,308 students enrolled this semester is a 348-student increase from the 7,960 enrolled in fall 2017, according to unofficial numbers released Tuesday, the semester's 11th day of classes.

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education uses the 11th-day numbers to compare enrollment from year to year. Official 11th-day figures are provided to the state in October.

They will be lower because they won't include students who are auditing a course or who are enrolled in "late start" classes that begin after the traditional 16-week semester starts, according to the college.

The number of new freshmen attending the college increased by 181 students from 1,421 in fall 2017 to 1,602 now. The number of distance learning students also increased, from 3,191 students last year to 3,777 students now, a bump of 586 students.

Enrollment numbers have been flat for the last few years, and other colleges across the state are experiencing decreasing enrollment figures, Evelyn Jorgenson, college president, told the Board of Trustees at its meeting Tuesday.

"We've always worked hard and continue to look for new ways to work hard to get that enrollment up," she said.

One of those was the hire of a director for enrollment management, said Todd Kitchen, vice president for student services.

The college hired Justin White for the position last year. Kitchen commended his work and leadership that produced positive results.

The increase of enrolled students generated 74,285 student semester credit hours taken, an increase of 3.25 percent from the previous fall semester, Kitchen reported.

He also said that the number of high school students participating in early college experience program -- where high school students also take college courses -- and the number of transfer students are also up.

"So far, so good. We're pleased with what we've been able to do," Kitchen said. "I cannot emphasize enough the teamwork and collaboration across the college community ... everyone pitched in over the summer to make this a huge success."

The 11th-day numbers only include students who are taking courses for college credit. The college serves about another 6,000 people through workforce development, adult education and other non-credit programs, according to the college's news release.

Gulizar Baggson, associate vice president of finance and chief financial officer, also gave an end-of-budget report to the trustees.

The college's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Fiscal year 2018 ended with $24,916 remaining in the unrestricted funds, $563,992 in the designated funds and $48,603 in the auxiliary funds.

Each fund saw revenues of $37.3 million, $3.8 million and $529,641, respectively.

Overall, the college completed the year in a good financial position, Baggson said.

NW News on 09/05/2018

Print Headline: College sees enrollment increase

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