PIQUA — The 2020–2021 commencement ceremony marked a momentous occasion as Edison State Community College awarded 735 degrees and certificates, the largest amount in an academic year in its 48-year history. However, that number may be short-lived due to an enrollment increase for fall 2021.
Since fall 2017, Edison State has seen an enrollment increase of 44%; from fall 2019 to fall 2020, it experienced an 18% increase. It is no surprise with in-person services and classes resuming with the fall semester, which began Aug. 23, Edison State is experiencing an 11% increase in credit hours and 9% increase in headcount.
“We approached the fall 2021 schedule not as a 50/50 split of in-person and online coursework, but a 100% in-person schedule along with a 100% online schedule. The deans, faculty, and academic staff rose to the challenge of such a large course schedule, and our students have responded with record-breaking enrollment numbers,” said Edison State President Doreen Larson, Ph.D.
The college has been committed to providing online learning options for students, both before and during the pandemic. This commitment garnered a 194% increase in online enrollment, up from 10,809 credit hours during the 2016–2017 academic year to 31,796 in 2020–2021.
The 100% tuition waiver offered to area graduating high school seniors has also helped boost enrollment at Edison State.
“Our 100% tuition waiver for high school graduates has introduced Edison State not only to these graduates but to their families, friends, and neighbors. The exceptionally positive experience of our waiver students has resulted in a powerful and effective marketing campaign for Edison State. I look forward to the continued success of the college, and we welcome even broader ranges of students from Miami, Darke, Shelby, Preble County, and beyond,” Larson said.
The sustained growth can also be attributed to the integration of workforce programs into Edison State’s academic offerings.
“The integration of workforce short-term and non-credit programs into overall operations of Edison State is rare and results in maximum options for new students along with a direct impact for our business partners,” Larson said.“Every incoming student at Edison State works with an advisor who is fully informed on all options for short- and long-term career and educational planning. The advisor works with the student to form an individualized plan that takes advantage of local and regional career pathways.”
The college’s high completion rates are a direct result of high retention rates. The fall-to-fall retention rate for Edison State was 37% in 2016–2017 and 45% in 2020–2021. While some of that retention can be attributed to the College Credit Plus (CCP) program, fall-to-fall retention in 2020–2021 among non-CCP students was the highest the college has seen at 45%. This was a 7% increase from 2019–2020. Among students ages 25 and older, fall-to-fall retention in 2020–2021, at 49%, was also the highest the college has experienced and was a 9% increase from the previous academic year.
“Edison State continues its upward enrollment by providing quality higher education,” added Larson.