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Ivy Tech enrollment surpasses IU

University spokesman: ‘We want Ivy Tech to succeed’

By Lindsey Erdody | IDS |

December 11, 2008

IU students might like to think they attend the biggest and best school in Indiana, but according to recently released numbers, IU is no longer No. 1.

According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Ivy Tech Community College is now the largest public post-secondary school in Indiana, surpassing IU with 120,447 enrolled students for the 2007-08 academic year. IU had 118,952 enrolled students for the 2007-08 academic year.

IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre explained that there are a few reasons why this happened. 

One explanation is IU has been working closely with Ivy Tech over the past few years to make transferring credits easier.

“I think a number of students intended to take advantage of that,” MacIntyre said. 

By making this connection with Ivy Tech, IU is now more desirable, MacIntyre said. 

Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder also said the recent bond with IU has helped attract students to the school.

“We are seeing more and more students seeing the value of the state’s community college system,” he said in a press release. “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.”

Another explanation is IU has recently dropped certain two-year associate degree programs. Now students seeking those degrees have chosen to attend Ivy Tech. 

Yet another reason behind this change is the economy. According to Ivy Tech’s Web site, it costs less than $6,000 to earn a college degree, which is less than $3,000 per year. IU’s in-state tuition rate is more than $8,000 for one year, according to IU’s tuition and fees Web site.

“With the economy slowing down like it is, it always increases enrollment,” MacIntyre said.

Students realize they need an education to provide job security, he said.  

But MacIntyre doesn’t see a downside for IU. 

“We want Ivy Tech to succeed, so it’s not a problem for IU,” he said. “We’re at record enrollment as well.”

MacIntyre also said this change will benefit Indiana as a whole. 

When more Hoosiers attend higher education classes, it is ultimately good for the state, he said. 

Some students said they recognize the helpfulness of attending Ivy Tech and getting a two-year degree, but some still prefer IU. 

“I wouldn’t want to go to (a community college) because it’s not the same experience, but it’s a good option for people who can’t afford to go to a traditional four-year school,” said freshman Becky Ackley.

Freshman Bridget Lee also said she understands why people choose to attend Ivy Tech.

“In today’s fast-paced world, it’s understandable why people would choose to graduate with a quicker degree to enter the work force sooner,” she said.

Even if IU isn’t the biggest, the school still remains in good shape and supports Ivy Tech’s recent growth. 

“I certainly hope that Ivy Tech remains at high enrollment,” MacIntyre said.