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Ivy Tech surpasses Indiana University in enrollment

Community college system is state’s largest in student numbers

Associated Press

December 11, 2008

By the numbers

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education said Wednesday that Ivy Tech Community College, with its extensive network of local campuses, has surpassed Indiana University as the state’s largest higher education institution. A look at college enrollment in Indiana by the numbers:

Ivy Tech Community College
2006-07: 111,205
2007-08: 120,447
Indiana University
2006-07: 119,293
2007-08: 118,952
Purdue University
2006-07: 75,875
2007-08: 76,580
Ball State University
2006-07: 24,089
2007-08: 24,035
Vincennes University
2006-07: 16,333
2007-08: 16,937
Indiana State University
2006-07: 14,605
2007-08: 14,758
University of Southern Indiana
2006-07: 12,079
2007-08: 12,117
Total public enrollment
2006-07: 373,479
2007-08: 383,826

Source: Indiana Commission for Higher Education

INDIANAPOLIS — Ivy Tech Community College, with its extensive network of local campuses, has surpassed Indiana University as the state’s largest higher education institution.

Enrollment numbers released Wednesday by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education show that more than 120,000 students took classes at Ivy Tech’s 23 campuses during the 2007-08 school year.

Indiana University recorded nearly 119,000 students across its eight campuses, while Purdue University ranked third with an enrollment of about 76,000.

The vast majority of Indiana’s college enrollment growth was found at the community college level, said Stan Jones, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education. One out of every three people taking college classes during the 2007-08 school year attended Ivy Tech.

“This is an important signal that we are on the right path with the community college in Indiana,” Jones said.

The slow economy may be causing some people to consider higher education, especially Ivy Tech. Ivy Tech officials tout the traditional benefits found at community colleges — cheaper tuition, two-year programs and flexible schedules important to working adults.

“We are seeing more and more students seeing the value of the state’s community college system,” Ivy Tech President Thomas Snyder said in a statement Wednesday. “Many of those students are taking advantage of our credits that transfer to Indiana University and other four-year colleges and universities while others are earning degrees that are resulting in good-paying careers.”

Students can save money by spending two years at Ivy Tech — where tuition is $3,000 a year — before transferring to a more expensive university such as Indiana or Purdue to complete a four-year degree. IU has aligned some if its four-year degrees with two-year programs at Ivy Tech so that students can transfer easily, said spokesman Larry MacIntyre.

The latest annual enrollment figures include students who took credit or noncredit classes, said Ivy Tech spokeswoman Kelly Lucas.

The statistics cover the entire 2007-08 school year and include students who were enrolled during only one semester that year. That could account for part of Ivy Tech’s large numbers.

Many Ivy Tech students enroll in classes for a short period of time, Lucas said. Some enroll for short-term training or certification programs and others transfer to four-year schools, she said.

Single-semester numbers are lower than the annual numbers. Ivy Tech’s fall enrollment this year, for example, was about 86,000, while Indiana University reported a record 101,000 students enrolled for its fall semester.

Part of Ivy Tech’s growth in recent years can be attributed to legislative efforts.

Ivy Tech was founded in the 1960s as a technical school, and for decades was focused on vocational issues. In 1999, Ivy Tech partnered with Vincennes University in an attempt to offer more diverse community college courses. But the schools had ongoing disputes, and the relationship failed. In 2005, lawmakers broadened Ivy Tech’s mission to make it the state’s community college system, and rapid growth followed.

Overall, the total headcount at public colleges and universities increased from 373,479 in the 2006-2007 school year to 383,826 in the 2007-2008 school year, according to higher education commission figures.