LAFAYETTE TWP. — Like several other Northeast Ohio academic institutions, the Medina County University Center has seen an enrollment boost in the last year.
The University of Akron’s preliminary numbers show that the Lafayette Township center had 223 students in 2008 and will see a total of 355 students this year — a spike of about 37 percent.
“I think it’s a convenience and the personal treatment (students) get is sometimes difficult to get in a larger institution,” said Jim Boyes, the new director of the University Center.
Boyes, who came on as director in August, was a member of the task force that developed the idea of the University Center. He is also a former superintendent of the Buckeye Local School District and the Medina County Schools’ Educational Services Center.
The University Center first opened its doors at 6300 Technology Lane in 2008 and was the first physical facility in Medina County devoted solely to higher education. It offers credit courses, workforce development programs and cultural enrichment activities.
“We have a staff here that is very student- and individual-oriented. I think students really enjoy that,” Boyes said.
He said the most popular classes are 100- and 200-level courses that many students need to take as part of their core curriculum. He said the University Center “is a very natural place for students to begin their education.”
Often, Boyes said, students will finish out their degrees at Akron’s main campus or transfer to other colleges.
Boyes said enrollment in noncredit classes that mostly focus on workforce development has been “steadily increasing.” Data for those classes weren’t readily available Tuesday.
It’s not clear if the school’s boost in enrollment is related to the struggling economy, Boyes said.
“This is our fourth semester. We would expect some pretty good growth as more and more people find out about us,” he said.
But he added that the University of Akron’s overall enrollment has increased by 6 percent in the past year.
Cuyahoga Community College, which plans to begin construction on a satellite campus on Center Road this year, reports that it will see a 15 percent increase between 2008 and 2009. Almost 30,000 students are enrolled systemwide this fall compared with nearly 26,000 last fall.
Lorain County Community College, which partners with the University of Akron to provide classes at its Midpoint Campus on Pearl Road in Brunswick, reports fall enrollment for this year hit 12,284 — 14.3 percent higher than in 2008 when 10,743 students enrolled. That is also 78 percent more than in 2000 when 6,895 students enrolled.
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