National Publication Takes Notice of
LSC-O’s Growing Enrollment

Lamar State College-Orange was recently recognized in a national publication for enrollment growth. “Community College Week,” a weekly magazine that serves community, technical and junior colleges in the nation, listed it as one of the fastest growing public two-year colleges in the nation from fall 2009 to fall 2010. LSC-O was ranked number eight out of 50 different two-year colleges, with enrollment numbers ranging from 2,500 to 4,999, who have seen enrollment growth from that time period.

Figures show that LSC-O enrolled 2,262 students during the fall 2009 semester and jumped to 2,649 students during the fall 2010 semester, reflecting a 17 percent increase in enrollment. While the publication has not yet calculated enrollment growth for the fall 2011 semester, LSC-O celebrated another record-breaking enrollment count last year. The official student headcount on campus was 2,763 for the fall 2011 semester, reflecting yet another increase of 4.03 percent.

Dr. Michael Shahan, president of LSC-O, commented last year on the rising numbers, saying he believed the increase was indicative of several things at work.

“First, it shows that students are seeing the quality of our product,” he said. “The second is value.”

While the “Community College Week” article was published to highlight the decline of enrollment figures for community colleges throughout the nation, LSC-O has been fortunate to see only a steady increase over the past four years. While other schools in the state, as well as across the nation, have suffered at the hand of failing economies, LSC-O has been able to keep the cost of attendance affordable for students. State support for higher education has decreased significantly over the last 10 years, forcing colleges and universities to pass costs on to students in the form of higher tuition and fees.

However, the cost of tuition at LSC-O will not increase for the upcoming spring 2012 semester. For a student taking 12 semester credit hours, this means a savings of anywhere from $168 to $300 when compared to other local campuses. And the reason why there is no increase can be directly attributed to a growing enrollment.

Sophomore Jennifer Ryan, says that she decided to attend LSC-O after her position was dissolved at her company and few jobs were available due to the struggling economy in the area. The lower cost of attendance was her deciding factor.

“My husband and I decided it was time to have a career instead of another job,” she said. “After much research, we discovered LSCO was convenient and affordable for us. Once enrolled, I value the campus even more because of the scholarship opportunities and student involvement with various organizations and activities.”

Ryan said she believes several factors contribute to the successful enrollment, but affordability is high on the list. Sophomore, Cody Ballard, concurs.

“In my opinion, LSCO is growing rapidly because of its reputation of having great programs, an accessible location and cheaper costs,” said Ballard. “Many students I talk to about it mostly agree the student to teacher ratio is one of the campus’ best aspects.”

Ryan says due to the economic situation, she sees more non-traditional students, such as herself, making a career change or trying to obtain a degree to be more successful in their current position.

“Many of us are in a position where we absolutely need to earn a degree so that we can strive for a better career or position to assist our financial obligations in life,” said Ryan. “Overall, we are blessed to have a college in our back yard that did not triple tuition rates due to our poor economy.”