Hodges University announced today that it has reached an enrollment milestone for fall semester 2010, topping the 3,000-student mark for the first time ever. This follows a census of the university’s main campuses, learning sites and online programs. It comes just three years after the University eclipsed the 2,000-student mark.
Hodges University President, Dr. Terry McMahan, says that the recession has played a factor in increased enrollment, and that economic factors still are driving people to improve their education.
"No doubt the economy has played a role in our record enrollment, particularly in our School of Allied Health, but the figure also reinforces the perception that the rising demand for access to higher education continues unabated in our area,” said McMahan. “More and more people are realizing that in order to function in today's economy and work force, one needs an education to really thrive. During this difficult recession, people recognize the value of education. The overwhelming demand for higher education in our area is a reflection of the current economy, as well as the opportunities that Hodges provides to adult students seeking different career choices.”
McMahan cites other factors that have contributed to the university’s enrollment growth. “Hodges University has been making efforts to recruit more online students, matriculate students from our English as a Second Language (ESL) program, retain students through graduation, maintain moderate and predictable tuition increases, and boost financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Each of these elements contributes to our success. And even though our enrollment numbers are up, we can still assure our students that they will receive an academic experience of the highest quality in an environment which meets their professional and personal needs,” he said.
For many new students, re-tooling their skills is the key to a better future. “Many of our students are looking at the big picture, not just at the job market today,” said Rita Lampus, Vice President of enrollment services at Hodges. “When the economy starts to improve, they want to be ready with a competitive edge. As companies start to rehire, the pool of unemployed and under-employed applicants to choose from is great, so they will be looking for the most qualified and best educated people to fill available positions.”
The university continues to see a steady increase in students attending one or all of their classes online. For the fall 2010 term, students from over 30 states, including California, Texas, and New York, are taking courses online through Hodges University.
“Today’s 24/7 learning environment offers the convenience and flexibility that students here in our area and beyond are demanding from higher education institutions,” said Peter Van Leeuwen, Director of Distance Education. “Night classes used to be the primary option for workers seeking to further their education, gain a degree in a more promising career field or for those who juggle a job, life responsibilities and school. Online courses offer the flexibility to accommodate many different lifestyles.
“Technology today continues to provide the necessary framework for the continued rapid growth of distance education. As the ability to deliver a quality education online continues to increase, so, too, is the necessity for continued growth in the number and diversity of distance education programs that we currently offer and will continue to offer. I think distance education will continue to grow exponentially in the next few years,” he said.
To keep up with the continued growth at the university, Hodges recently announced expansion plans for its Fort Myers campus. Plans are for the school to construct a three-story, 45,000-square foot building adjacent to the three-story, 60,000-square-foot main campus building. The $12 million facility is planned for construction on the north side of the campus, located at Colonial Boulevard and Winkler Extension in Ft. Myers, and is targeted for completion by early 2012.
President McMahan views the enrollment increase as an example of the institution fulfilling its mission. "We have worked very hard to understand the educational needs of our community,” said McMahan. “The result is a very vibrant, growing and diverse institution that is making a difference not just in the lives of its students but in the quality of life in this region of Florida as well.”
For more information about Hodges University and its degree programs, call 1-800-466-8017 or log onto www.hodges.edu.