BRTC sees decrease in college students, increase in high school students enrolling

BRTC sees decrease in college students, increase in high school students enrolling
While Black River Technical College has seen a nearly seven percent drop in the number of college students at its Paragould and Pocahontas campus from the same time in 2018, college officials said Friday that they have seen a large increase in the number of high school students taking classes. (Source: KAIT-TV)

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - While Black River Technical College has seen a nearly seven percent drop in the number of college students at its Paragould and Pocahontas campus from the same time in 2018, college officials said Friday that they have seen a large increase in the number of high school students taking classes.

According to a media release from the college, the 11th day enrollment numbers showed 1,477 students at the campuses, 6.7% below the 1,583 students on campus in fall 2018.

Jason Smith, Vice President for Enrollment Management at BRTC, said it appears overall the college campuses are seeing the results from a strong economy and low unemployment rate in the region.

However, the college has seen a six percent increase in the past year in the number of high school students taking classes as well as a 2.5% increase over the same time two years ago, as well as a 38% increase in the number of students from Greene County at BRTC.

Darenda Kersey, who works as a concurrent coordinator at BRTC, said the opportunity for high school students to go to college has expanded.

“Our concurrent enrollment has increased this semester, most likely because BRTC chose to implement the new Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship to high school juniors and seniors,” Kersey said. “This scholarship has allowed many students to take classes.”

Smith agreed.

“In addition to the new concurrent credit scholarship program, local high school students increasingly take advantage of our TOPSS (Technical Opportunities and Pathways for Secondary Students) program while still enrolled in high school. The TOPSS program is an excellent opportunity for students to earn a certificate or skill that will help them be work-ready upon high school graduation,” Smith said.

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