NPC Announces 19 Percent Growth In New Students, 77 Percent Increase In Summer Graduates

National Park College (NPC) announced official fall enrollment Tuesday. The College reported increases in summer graduates, new students, concurrent credit, National Park Technology Center (NPTC), Adult Education and workforce training enrollments.

As of the 11th day census, the College reported 2,022 degree seeking students, compared to 2,219 last year. Preliminary numbers show that full-time equivalent (FTE) for college students is down slightly, from 1899 last year to 1792 currently. Total semester credit hours is also down from 28,485 to 26,884.

NPC had a 26.7 percent increase in summer enrollment. Summer terms had 858 students enrolled, compared to 677 last year. Summer graduates increased dramatically from 49 last year to 87 this year, a 77.6 percent increase. This follows a 34.78 percent increase in credentials earned and a 25.48 percent increase in graduates last May.

Dr. Wade Derden, Vice President for Academic Affairs said he credits improvements to student success for the decline in overall headcount. “Last year we witnessed sharp increases to semester credit hours which indicated our students were taking more hours and decreasing time to degree. The same is true this year. Overall enrollment is down because more students are graduating in a timely manner. After seeing such a large number of graduates in May and August, we anticipated some decline. Students are no longer lingering, but instead earning degrees and beginning careers,” said Derden.

NPC participates in Complete College America’s “15 to Finish” initiative which encourages students to take more hours and complete their degree on time. Last year, the College restructured fees to create a single credit hour fee and capped tuition and fees at 15 credit hours so students taking increased hours pay less.

“We are being more efficient,” said Dr. Jerry Thomas, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. “We are celebrating the success of our students and encouraged by drastic increases in new students and continued growth in graduation rates,” he added.

NPC welcomed 670 new students to campus last month compared to 563 last year, a 19 percent increase. This year’s class is 60 percent female and 40 percent male and includes students from 21 counties across the state with 522 from Garland County, 42 from Hot Spring County, 24 from Pike County, 23 from Montgomery County, 15 from Clark County, 15 from Saline County, and the remainder from Perry, Pulaski, Grant, Faulkner, Hempstead, Jackson, Jefferson, Howard, Lincoln, Miller, Mississippi, Randolph, Washington, Nevada, and Dallas counties. The class includes 76 percent traditional students and 24 percent non-traditional students.

Despite an overall decrease in headcount, the College is celebrating significant increases in every other enrollment category. Concurrent credit enrollment increased 17.8 percent from 562 last year to 662 this year. NPTC enrollment is up nearly 14 percent from 595 to 677. Adult Education is up from 416 last year at this time to 477 since July 1, a 14.7 percent increase. Community and Corporate Training programs have served 584 students and logged 15,322 contact hours since July 1 compared to 646 students and 12,633 contact hours at this time last year.

Dr. John Hogan, NPC president said these changes have all contributed to the College’s ability to raise the attainment bar. “Our team continues to work diligently to attract more students and increase degree attainment and these counts reflect their efforts. A 77.6 percent increase in summer graduates is remarkable and a 19 percent increase in new students tells us we are on the right track.”