Central Michigan University’s off-campus enrollment is on the rise for the third consecutive year, according to the Office of the Registrar.
From 2009 to 2010, off-campus spring enrollment has increased by more than 9.5 percent, from 7,445 to 8,312 students.
Online Programs Manager Marnie Roestel said the main reason for the spike is because many adults are going back to school for a college degree to increase skills, marketability and secure jobs.
Besides online, CMU has more than 60 other off-campus locations around the nation.
CMU is a convenient option for many working students, Roestel said.
“New program offerings added to our menu in the past three years have increased interest in taking programs online and therefore enrollments,” Roestel said.
Spring registration begins Monday. ProfEd, externally known as CMU Off-Campus and Online Programs, expects a continued increase for the upcoming semester.
“The steady increase in enrollments has resulted in further action by ProfEd to ensure student success and learning along with the support of highly-qualified faculty,” Roestel said.
The off-campus student is typically a working adult with family responsibilities, and tend to range in age from 25 to 55 with an average age of 38, she said.
“We are seeing a noted increase in younger students as online grows,” Roestel said.
Sterling Heights junior Kenneth Singletary took BCA 310: Broadcast History and New Media Technology, online last summer as a prerequisite for his major. He said he liked the course overall and would only change a couple aspects of it.
“I would recommend online courses to anyone who doesn’t like to have to leave their house because you can access class through your computer,” Singletary said. “Although you have more work to do, you can do (it) on your own time.”
However, not all students find online courses to be helpful.
Milford junior Lauren Schneider took JRN 350: Public Relations Principles and Practices as a prerequisite for her major. She said the course was easy, but frustrating.
“It was easy only because I didn’t have to make time to go to class and assignments were basically due once a week,” Schneider said. ”The lack of face-to-face communication made group projects difficult, and I think my grade and overall understanding of the subject matter suffered.”
Schneider and Highland senior Jamie Blake agreed they do not wish to register for more online classes.
“I feel like I didn’t learn anything from the online class,” Blake said.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, CMU is ranked tenth in the nation for granting masters degrees to minority students because of CMU’s Off-Campus and Online Programs.
Roestel said another reason for the spike is CMU’s military online program discount, granted to veterans, reservists and active duty service members and their dependents.
One of the most popular degrees is the Master of Science in Administration, Roestel said.
The new Psychology and Integrated Leadership Studies bachelor programs, which were opened off-campus in the fall of 2011, have been well-received and are showing strong growth as well, she said.
According to ProfEd, the current off-campus standard undergraduate tuition is $355 per credit hour, while the main campus rate is $346 per credit hour. The off-campus standard graduate tuition rate is $468 per credit hour, while the main campus rate is $467 per credit hour.
“We are thrilled our students and faculty are leveraging all of CMU’s resources for teaching and learning,” Roestel said, “be it on the Mount Pleasant campus, at our remote campus locations (or) online.”