North Arkansas College celebrates five percent enrollment increase

Mon Sep 19, 2016 at 01:12 PM

Spurred by a 23 percent growth in the high school student population, increased online interest, and new academic programs, enrollment for the fall semester at North Arkansas College (Northark) has grown for the first time after four consecutive years of decline.

In preliminary enrollment information presented to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Northark reported headcount enrollment of 1,886 students, an increase of 5.01 percent over last year’s count of 1,796.

It marks the first time that enrollment has increased since Northark’s student numbers rose in the fall of 2012 with 2,315 students.

“This year’s enrollment report delivers two positive messages,” said Dr. Randy Esters, president. “First, students and their families continue to strongly believe that earning a college degree is critical to long-term career success and a good quality of life. Second, the combination of strong academic programs led by qualified instructors and our affordability continue to make Northark the first choice for students.”

Students are recognizing the value of college at a younger age.  The number of high school students taking classes at Northark jumped 23 percent this fall with 312 enrolled. 

Students are increasingly preferring the convenience of their computers to obtain their education. Online enrollment saw an 18.45 percent boost.

The Northark Technical Center experienced a 3 percent enrollment increase.

More students from Boone County enrolled this semester, increasing by 63 students or 6.3 percent from fall 2015.  Carroll County remains Northark’s second largest population contributing a 2.5 percent increase over last year.

The first-time freshmen count increased by 1.7 percent, while the number of sophomores dipped by 5.4 percent.

Students pursuing the Associate of Science in Pre-Engineering increased three-fold, swelling from 6 students last year to 19 this fall.  Other notable increases occurred in Criminal Justice and Business programs.  Criminal Justice has ballooned from one single student in 2014 to 31 enrolled this semester.  Business continues to be a popular career choice with a 41% increase in students.

A recruiting effort targeting neighboring area students reaped 13 more Missouri students over last year. This fall, students in contiguous counties of Stone, Taney, Barry and Ozark counties received a $47 per credit hour discounted tuition rate than other out-of-state students. 

Northark expanded class sizes and added sections to accommodate the increased student demand.  To help students get payment arrangements finalized, the tuition payment deadline was extended from August 1 to August 19.  The College held an All for Fall Enrollment Bash that provided students with a “one-stop-shop” with access to admissions and financial aid before enrollment ended. 

“We’re pleased with this fall’s enrollment report,” said President Dr. Randy Esters. “One of our highest priorities is growing our enrollment while maintaining a high level of excellence.  When students and their families make the decision to achieve their educational goals at Northark, they know they will receive a high-quality, personalized education and not graduate with a mountain of debt.”

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.