Tuesday, September 27, 2005
This fall marks the fifth straight year in which the number of full-time students attending Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus has increased.
Early last fall, officials estimated that about 750 full-time students were enrolled. An estimated 800 to 850 full-time students are now enrolled at the Steamboat Springs college, said Lance Eldridge, assistant campus dean for instruction.
Final enrollment counts will not be available for several weeks.
For each of the past five years, the Alpine Campus has seen a full-time student enrollment increase of 7 to 10 percent, Eldridge said. Although that rate might slow, Eldridge expects overall enrollment to continue to increase.
The greatest growth has been in Alpine Campus' college prep program, which lets students who aren't prepared for college improve their English, math and study skills so they eventually can take for-credit courses.
Although increased enrollment is a positive, it is starting to put pressure on the college's facilities, Eldridge said. For instance, residence halls fill up earlier each year.
The school will continue to adjust course scheduling to give students the opportunity to take core classes. This year, CMC is offering more late-start classes, which start later in the semester and meet more frequently and for longer periods of time.
"Obviously, our goal is our customer, who is our student, and trying to work out our program so it's the best for each student," said Amy Feltner, a counselor at Alpine Campus.
Next year, the college might move to a more traditional schedule in which classes meet three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Currently, most classes meet twice a week.
Eldridge said three factors make the college attractive to students and contribute to increasing enrollment:
The school has a robust transfer program, so students who take core classes are guaranteed that those credits will transfer to four-year state schools. That is especially helpful for students who want to save money by first attending CMC.
The school has three popular occupational programs: ski and snowboard business, resort management and outdoors studies. Interest also is growing in the health care program.
The Steamboat Ski Area is just down U.S. Highway 40.
Enrollment in noncredit courses has remained steady, Eldridge said, adding that the college is committed to providing those educational opportunities for community members.
CMC-Alpine Campus is offering 357 courses this fall. It has 18 full-time faculty members and plans to hire two more next year. The school also has 101 part-time faculty members.
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