Students Continue to Enroll with Record Increases at OFTC
After three consecutive semesters of enrollment growth, Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC) is receiving state-wide recognition for the highest percentage enrollment increase amongst the state’s 22 technical colleges three semesters in a row.
The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) recently released their spring 2020 semester seven-day enrollment report which lists OFTC’s spring semester growth at 27.3%, 12% higher than the second largest increase.
“We are thrilled to have experienced another semester of growth,” shared OFTC’s President, Erica Harden. “We attribute the growth to a number of factors, including the dedicated efforts of OFTC’s faculty and staff members to create a culture of caring amongst our campuses.”
The college first experienced this enrollment trend after touting a 19.3% increase last summer. Then again in the fall with a 30.3% enrollment increase.
While the bulk of OFTC’s growth has occurred amongst traditional credit students, the impact they are making in the lives of high school students is not unnoted.
OFTC serves individuals in its 11-county service area including: Washington, Hancock, Glascock, Warren, Jefferson, Wilkinson, Bleckley, Cochran, Laurens, Wheeler, Telfair and Dodge counties. OFTC also serves 16 high schools and more than 430 students through dual enrollment which allows high school students to earn college credits for free.
“The opportunity we have to work with our local high schools is one we value and take very seriously,” shared Dr. Saketha Adams, OFTC’s Vice President for Student Affairs. “We are taking part in introducing these high school students to college and career opportunities, and we want to set them up for success once they graduate high school and are making decisions about their future.”
From fall 2018 to fall 2019, OFTC’s participating dual enrollment students grew 37.4%.
Emphasizing their focus on caring about each student who walks through their doors, Harden believes the College’s growth can be partially attributed to the dedicated efforts they’ve made to focus on enrollment growth over the last few years.
“Over the last five years, the College has taken major steps to focus on enrollment, and what we’re seeing can be attributed to a culmination of these consistent, unwavering efforts,” she said.
From a focus on retention – offering individualized career counseling and connecting students to scholarship opportunities to aid with financial burdens – to eliminating enrollment barriers by simplifying admissions and financial aid processes, OFTC is putting their students first.
“Our focus must be on the student,” Adams shared. “Whether they’re walking through our doors for the first time, hoping to start classes, or are already taking courses with us, our goal is to meet their needs by setting them on a path for success which will ultimately help change their lives.”
The ability to offer programs of study which provide a pipeline of skilled workers directly into the local workforce is another advantage to what OFTC offers.
“We don’t just offer programs of study because we want to,” Harden shared. “When we add a new program it’s because there is an immediate or impending need for qualified skilled workers within our local and surrounding communities within that field.”
“I think people are beginning to recognize that OFTC, and technical colleges in general, are no longer the best kept secret in Georgia,” Harden said. “The dots are finally being connected to equate us with workforce development, and that’s our mission.”
In the last few years, OFTC has added several new programs which have attributed to their growth, including the Associate Degree in Nursing Bridge, Cybersecurity, Mechatronics, Computer Tomography Specialist certificate, and Diagnostic Medical Sonography associate of applied science degree. A Construction Management associate degree and diploma program is coming soon, pending Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approval.