UW-Rock County enjoying record enrollment

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009
— UW-Rock County is poised for record enrollment for the second year in a row, an official said.

Today is the first day of the fall term at the campus on Janesvilleís south side.

As of Tuesday, the campus had enrolled 1,120 full- or part-time students, said Kristin Fillhouer assistant dean of student services.

That number translates to a full-time-equivalent enrollment of 828.

If that number holds, UW-Rock would exceed the previous record of 740 full-time-equivalent students set last year on the 10th day of fall classes.

The previous 10th-day record was 644 FTEs, set in 1983, Fillhouer said.

Fillhouer said more students are going full time than in the past. She said she hasnít had a chance to analyze whether thatís because of an influx of laid-off workers or whether more students are entering UW-Rock straight out of high school, or both.

Officials at nearby Blackhawk Technical College, which also has seen record enrollments over the past two years, say they also are seeing more full-time students, mostly because student aid for displaced workers requires full-time attendance.

High enrollments in higher education are the norm during times when jobs are scarce. UW-Rock recorded enrollment peaks in 1983 and 1990, for example. Both were times of national recessions.

Another indicator of tough times is an increase of about 10 percent in the number of students receiving financial aid, Fillhouer said. Thatís a reflection of more students but also more need, she said.

UW-Rock had planned for an increase, but enrollment is running ahead of projections, Fillhouer said.

Fillhouer, who began her job this year, said school staff did a good job of planning. Student needs are being handled by adding classes.

All faculty members are being asked to teach more sections, said Kim Kostka, associate dean for academic affairs. And new instructors have been hired.

UW-Rock is shifting instruction costs by closing courses with low enrollments. Itís also asking the UW Colleges central office for additional funding, and so far, requests have been approved, Kostka said.

Where classroom space permits, classes are larger, Kostka said. English composition courses had been kept to 22 but now will have 24 students, for example.

For the first time, the schoolís staff directory doesnít fit on one page, Kostka said.

First-year courses have ballooned, in part because of students starting nursing degrees through a new cooperative agreement with UW-Oshkosh and Blackhawk Tech.

Kostka, who teaches chemistry, said she was clearing cabinet space Tuesday so 30 additional students would have room to store their lab project materials.

One bright light is that a building-expansion project now is complete, so more classroom space is available.

The project included some expansion of the parking lot, but officials will monitor the situation as students come to campus today, Fillhouer said.

Applications still are being accepted, but students might not get into the courses they want, Fillhouer said.

Last updated: 11:35 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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