Cincinnati State enrollment grows, bucking downward trend

One of three Ohio community colleges to grow

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati State Technical & Community College bucked the trend among nearly all community colleges in Ohio by adding enrollment this fall despite a drop in college-aged population.

The school was one of just three community colleges in Ohio – along with North Central State College in Mansfield and Rio Grande Community College in Southeastern Ohio – with an increase in enrollment, with 16 others facing decreases. Cincinnati State’s enrollment grew to 11,167 for the fall semester compared to 10,614 a year ago, according to Wendy Bolt, vice president for enrollment and student services.

“This says so much about Dr. Owens and everybody at Cincinnati State,” Board of Trustees Chair Cathy Crain said, referring to President O’dell Owens, during the board meeting Tuesday. “These numbers are incredible.”

Much of the growth occurred on branch campuses, with Harrison growing to 157 from 96 a year ago and Middletown nearly doubling to 616 from 311.

Bolt said the college’s strategic plan to reach out to Hispanic, international and veteran students has dividends, with a modest increase of those groups to 1,154 students compared to 1,039 a year ago.

Cincinnati State is also targeting individual high schools more aggressively to successful effect, particularly at Roger Bacon (19 students from nine), Sycamore (18 from eight) and Middletown (18 from 13).

Bolt said Cincinnati State is poised to further boost enrollment by adding students who were brought to the United States illegally as children who qualify for in-state tuition rates under federal reform in 2012 known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Twenty such prospective students plan to enroll in January, and Bolt said there may be as many as 850 DACA-qualified students in Greater Cincinnati.

Owens said he has broadened his recruitment efforts to meet with superintendents in Warren and Butler counties and elsewhere to reach broader groups of potential students. He also said his push to add a volleyball team has attracted players from parochial high schools.

“Give us some more time,” Owens said. “People are going to know who we are.”

More Good News for Cincinnati State

Lawra Baumann, director of grant administration, laid out plans for a $2.75 million grant that Cincinnati State won from the Department of Labor.

To meet a pressing need for skilled welders, Cincinnati State will use the money to establish a Greater Cincinnati Manufacturing Careers Accelerator (GCMCA), which will provide regional manufacturers with a pool of potential employees trained in welding and Computerized Numerical Control operations.

Baumann said the college plans to graduate 350 displaced, unemployed or veteran students and will try to recruit triple that number given a high dropout rate.

A portion of the grant will be used to assess veterans for skills they bring to school and to determine how students can best apply them to classes and degrees.

The grant was the maximum amount a single institution could be awarded from the Labor Department pool.

The four-year grant implementation begins Oct. 1.

“It will hopefully generate more grant opportunities,” she said.


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