Steamboat Springs The number of full-time, degree-seeking students attending Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus has increased by more than 20 percent during the past two years, school officials estimate.
About 750 full-time students are enrolled for the current semester, continuing the school's trend of increasing enrollment of degree-seeking students. Enrollment at the school has increased for three consecutive years.
"Right now is boom time for the campus," said Lance Eldridge, assistant campus dean for instruction.
Although student numbers are stretching the school's residence-hall capacities to their limits, high enrollment provides its share of benefits, said Brian Hoza, assistant campus dean for student services.
The demand to attend Alpine Campus is forcing students to motivate themselves to apply for admission earlier than was necessary in the past. Students who do so often are more serious about their academic achievement, Hoza said.
Increased enrollment also is forcing the school to improve course scheduling and offerings to better meet student needs, Eldridge said.
CMC officials are continuing to work to align course start times, which allows students to take more of the courses they want and need with less chance of scheduling conflicts, Eldridge said. More courses are being offered to students, and to best utilize campus facilities, classes are being offered more frequently on Fridays.
"Not only is that going to continue, it's going to grow," Eldridge said of Friday courses, which schools traditionally shy away from. "During the week, we're full. We have very little space available."
Alpine Campus is offering 377 courses this semester, and unlike past years, most of the courses will have sufficient enrollment to run as scheduled. The school has 19 full-time faculty members and 102 part-time faculty members.
School leaders attribute the overall enrollment increase to a variety of factors, including steady and affordable tuition rates and guaranteed credit transfers to four-year schools.
Neither Eldridge nor Hoza expects the enrollment trend to subside. But talks of expanding campus facilities, such as residence halls, are premature at best, Hoza said.
"We don't want to lose the assets of a small campus in a close-knit educational community," Hoza said. "The campus feel is upbeat."
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