by Victor Lopez
PERMIAN BASIN--Enrollment incentives at local colleges have yielded the desired effect. Summer enrollment at OC, UTPB, and Midland College are up for the summer session. A trend that administrators hope will keep going.
Whether the choice of school is in Odessa or Midland, all three institutes of higher learning in the Permian Basin are celebrating the same thing, an increase in the number of students going to summer school.
According to Dr. David Bauske the V.P. for Student Enrollment at Odessa College, "It's up 28.9 percent over last year, roughly 1,277 students, up almost 300 students from last year. That's, in fact, our best enrollment since 1999 for Summer I."
Dr. Bauske credits the 1/2 price tuition for summer school at OC as one of the reasons for the increase.
Meanwhile across town at UTPB, they're seeing higher summer enrollment, especially at the graduate level, thanks to the B.E.S.T Program, or Better Educators for Schools in Texas.
Megan Cuadle, the coordinator for the program explains how it works. "Students have received a tuition discount. They get $150 off each of the courses they're in and then $300 off each of the last two courses in their program. Some people may be here for their Masters in Education or their Masters in their content area, so they'll be seeing a $2,000 discount over all, on their tuition."
While school officials say they have seen an increase in the number of students enrolled, one thing they won't be seeing is more students walking across their courtyards. That's because a large number of them have chosen to take their courses online.
Bauske explains the effect this has had at OC, "We've seen a marked increase in the number of web courses we offer. In fact, after we started enrolling students, we actually added 28 more courses to the schedule, simply because we've had so much response from our students."
Midland College has also seen an increase this summer. As of Tuesday, June 10th, their numbers are up 13% compared to last year.
Dr. Bauske says OC plans to do whatever it takes, to make sure these numbers keep going up, even into the regular semesters, "We're going to try our best to get as many students as possible into the higher education pipeline, and that's what we're working on."