Fall enrollment increased by double digits for the second year in a row at East Arkansas Community College. Fall 2022 enrollment increased 12.3% over last fall from an unduplicated headcount of 1,057 to 1,187. This is the 2nd highest fall enrollment for the last 6 years.
"I am proud that we are enjoying two years of increases. This shows we are recovering from the pandemic. As a reflection of our local economy, this is great news for everyone," said Dr. Cathie Cline, President of EACC.
By division, the largest increase was seen in the vocational-technical programs with a 36.4% increase in enrollment. Allied health programs and humanities programs also saw more than a 7% gain in headcount, while business and math/science both declined in headcount.
"Graduates of our career and workforce programs all reach gainful employment easily and command high wages. Nurses can make over $50,000 a year in many cases and commercial driver training graduates can command as much as a $60,000 salary in some cases. Our HVAC, automotive, and welding graduates also achieve high wages and quick employment," Cline added.
The highest overall increase was in high school enrollment, with the total number of credit hours taken by high school students increasing from 1,307 to 2,777 semester credit hours. "Tobey Nichols and Christine Williams, who lead our concurrent credit and secondary career center programs, have done an outstanding job of strengthening our partnerships with high schools. They are to be commended for helping our local high school students graduate with a head start in life" Cline added.
EACC serves 12 different high schools, including Augusta High School, Brinkley High School, Calvary Christian High School, Cross County High School, Forrest City High School, Harrisburg High School, Lee Academy High School, Lee County Senior High School, McCrory High School, Palestine-Wheatley High School, Wynne High School, and the Arkansas Virtual Academy.
High school students in the secondary career center can graduate with job skills and credentials that lead directly to employment free through a partnership with EACC. High school students can also earn college credit for free or very low cost, depending on school district policies, thus getting them ahead if they plan to pursue a 4-year degree, saving thousands of dollars in university tuition. EACC has over 70 2+2 partnerships with universities in Arkansas.
The largest majors by percentage were allied health programs, with over 33% of students enrolled in nursing, radiologic technology, emergency medical professions and related programs, followed by general education and arts and sciences programs, with almost 24% of declared students.
Increases were seen in degree-seeking students in the cosmetology, transportation technology (diesel, CDL, automotive body and service) and the technical and vocational skilled trades programs such as HVAC, major appliance service, and welding.
"We have made many major improvements over the last few years in our vocational/technical and allied health programs, and students recognize the value of the high quality training we provide," said Dr. Cline. "With the completion of renovations currently underway on the building located on I-40, we will be able to provide the best student services facilities anywhere in the state," Cline added.