FULTON – One year after seeing record enrollment growth, Itawamba Community College continues to watch the student population grow.
With registration having recently ended, the school has 8,691 students, an increase of 463 students from the same period last year. That is an increase of 5.6 percent. Last year, the school grew by more than 15 percent.
“After having that huge spike, to be able to turn around and have another increase this year is significant,” said Buddy Collins, ICC’s vice president of student services.
According to preliminary numbers, almost as many day students attend its Tupelo campus – 2,764 – as its Fulton campus, which has 3,012.
Collins said the number of students in Tupelo began to climb a few years ago when it became a comprehensive campus that offers nearly all of the courses that are available on the Fulton campus. Previously, Tupelo was mainly a vocational campus.
As a result, Tupelo’s campus has become a much more central part of the college.
“Since it originated in Fulton, the Fulton campus will always be considered the home campus, but with everything we do, we try to take into consideration Tupelo equally as much as Fulton,” Collins said.
“There is a difference in the population that you serve at each location. In Fulton, you have the residential life and traditional college activities in the evening. In Tupelo, you are solely a commuter campus.”
Collins said the college is trying to accommodate the growth at the Tupelo campus, which is smaller than the Fulton site.
“There are plans to try to create more space over there,” Collins said. “It is a challenge. It is a challenge with the classrooms and a challenge with the parking, but we’re moving as fast as we can to accommodate the growth issues.”
The school also has seen a significant increase in its adult-learner population. Collins said the college’s average age is now 27. It was 25 just six years ago.
The school currently has 1,368 students taking night classes in Tupelo, 99 taking night classes in Fulton and 5,004 in distance learning or online classes.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal