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Edison State reports record enrollment numbers

By Staff | Sep 3, 2009

Officials announced Wednesday that Edison State College has enrolled the largest student population ever.
Edison first opened in 1962 as a two-year community college. The educational facility has expanded over 47 years to include multiple campuses, as well as various associates’ and bachelors’ programs.
This semester’s head count increased 18.5 percent from the fall of 2008, and now there are approximately 16,000 students enrolled at one of the college’s five campuses.
“I am impressed with the community’s positive response to our new offerings and our continued success in our core programs,” said Dr. Kenneth P. Walker, president of Edison State College.
The Lee Campus has enrolled 9,358 students for the fall, and its growing online education program now includes 1,224 students.
Last year the school increased its enrollment by 15 percent. According to the Florida Department of Education, it was the largest enrollment spike of any public college or university.
“Edison State College now offers bachelor degree options and, right now, other Florida universities and colleges are turning students away,” Walker said. “Edison State continues our tradition of providing students with an open door, and our tuition is the most affordable option in the area.”
Not only have more students enrolled at Edison State College, but each student is registering for more classes than in the past.
“What these figures tell us is not only are more students choosing Edison State College, but also each student is taking more classes than they have in years past,” said Dr. Noreen Thomas, executive vice president of Edison State College.
The amount of courses registered for by students has climbed by 24 percent since 2008, likely due to the fact that new classes and programs are constantly being added.
Recently, the school added four-year bachelors’ programs. This year a new Bachelor of Science in nursing program was added with 101 local students.
Experts point out that there is an acute shortage of nurses throughout Florida and the United States, putting nursing students at an advantage to acquire jobs.
According to the Florida Center for Nursing, by 2010 the state will be short 18,000 full-time equivalent nurses.
Edison State will also offer an associate’s degree in health information management, which trains medical record professionals and specialists in the management of electronic medical records, another favorable career path as organizations such as the Lee Memorial Health System work to launch electronic medical record software.
Increased enrollment can also be attributed to the downturn in the local economy.
Lee County has an unemployment rate of 13.2 percent, and many are choosing to go back to school to obtain skills that will help them get another job.
“The economy is also factor. As unemployment continues, many people turn to education to retool their skills,” Walker said.
Student enrollment at the Collier Campus is 2,822, the Charlotte Campus is 2,107 and the Hendry Glades facility is 470.
The school also offers its virtual campus, Edison Online.