EVANSVILLE —Enrollment in the statewide Ivy Tech Community College system could double by 2030, President Tom Snyder predicted recently, noting campuses across the state already are dealing with limited funding and hiring ability.
Ivy Tech this year has about 175,000 students enrolled. The figure has ballooned since the downturn in the economy began in 2008 and displaced workers sought retraining as tuition to four-year universities continued to increase.
Ivy Tech's tuition is about $3,300 per student.
The community college's Evansville campus enrollment has flattened after an unprecedented spurt from 5,987 in 2008 to 8,429 in 2010. Chancellor Dan Schenk described the drop of about 200 students over the last two years as "a bit of a correction" after the sudden 40 percent spike.
Additionally, 1,000 or so high school students are taking dual credit courses through Ivy Tech, which is not reflected in the community college's enrollment numbers.
The Evansville campus, at its recent budget request hearing with the state, requested several new full-time faculty and staff positions.
About 40 percent of Ivy Tech's courses are taught by full-time faculty. Ivy Tech wants to increase that number while also adding staff in other key areas.
Schenk said that student support staff are needed to help boost degree completion rates, which are part of the formula used to determine how much state funding higher education institutions receive.
"We need to continue to shore up our student support ... Any new student coming to Ivy Tech will find their way to the Academic Advising Center and come out with an individual academic plan and more or less know what their courses of study are going to be the next couple of years. We think providing that clear direction upfront will keep students from floundering."
Schenk said the college is still "feeling the pinch" of its 40 percent enrollment jump in students over three years. But it's uncertain how many new positions can be added.
"The real challenge for us is what's going to happen in 2012-13," Schenk said. "We know there's going to be less money available to us as a region and to us as a college due to the adjustments we received in 2011-12."
The Evansville campus also has accelerated its private fundraising efforts. An April 21 gala benefiting the college's foundation is expected to net about $50,000, a figure that officials say will top all expectations.
Although Ivy Tech's foundation is based in Indianapolis, individual campuses keep what they raise, said Rob Henson, executive director of the foundation's Evansville activities.
The Evansville Ivy Tech campus has the second-largest endowment of any in the state, with about $2.36 million. Only the Indianapolis campus has more. Henson said endowed earnings are used for financial aid, faculty development and other endeavors.
Local Ivy Tech administrators and trustees are exploring ways to increase the campus' footprint in the future in anticipation of more enrollment.
The college's regional board of trustees on Thursday awarded a $351,200 contract to Danco Construction for the planned renovation of a former Jehovah's Witnesses church on the southeast corner of the First Avenue campus. It will be made to house financial aid, the newly-created Corporate College and other Ivy Tech functions.
"That's the most immediate positive impact we're going to have (on space)," Schenk said. " ... Longer term, we're going to have to look for additional space."
Snyder, the statewide Ivy Tech president, said the college must continue to discover ways to educate more students at reduced costs.
"Higher education reminds me today of the auto industry of the '70s and '80s," Snyder said. "It's not sustainable."
This article contains material from The Associated Press.