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COTC exceeds enrollment goal despite uncertainties of COVID-19

| June 10, 2020

Amid widespread health and economic uncertainty across the state and country, and despite conducting almost all instruction in new, remote formats to avoid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) exceeded its summer semester 2020 enrollment goal. Preliminary summer enrollment headcount at COTC is 1,322 students, which is slightly above goal and consistent with the same semester last year, reported COTC President John M. Berry, PhD.

“The message here is clear – even during the challenges brought about by the pandemic, our community members trust COTC to continue offering high quality, relevant and affordable education that prepares them to immediately step into local in-demand jobs,” Berry said.

While final enrollment numbers will not be available for several weeks, Berry did call out several important trends. Notably, COTC saw increases in both the number of degree and certificate seeking applicants as well as the percentage of applicants choosing to enroll. The number of students transferring to COTC from another academic institution also significantly increased over enrollment numbers from summer 2019.

Affordability and Accessibility Key to Success

Broad availability of scholarship dollars to help with career training continues to set COTC apart from other area institutions, Berry said. In April, COTC announced more than $1 million in scholarships to help all students – including new students, those transferring from another institution and continuing students – with a special allocation specifically for displaced workers impacted by the pandemic. “COTC students enjoy the advantages of such strong scholarship funding directly because of the incredibly generous support of our donors,” Berry said.

Also in April, COTC announced it had temporarily modified its admissions policy to “test optional” through autumn 2020 to allow all who want to take advantage of COTC’s career training and upskilling opportunities to enroll without delay. “If you’ve lost your job or need to train for a new career – even if you’ve never thought about going to college – we want you to know that COTC is here to help you,” Berry said. “And for recent high school graduates wanting to earn a four-year degree, COTC offers affordable transfer options with the benefit of staying close to home during this time of uncertainty.”

The mission of Central Ohio Technical College is to meet the technical education and training needs of students and employers in the area.

COTC is accepting applications for autumn semester 2020, which begins on Tuesday, Aug. 25. All students planning to enroll for autumn semester should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible added Berry, as awards are offered to eligible applicants in dated order until funds are exhausted. To apply and learn more about COTC’s scholarships, academic programs and steps to enroll visit cotc.edu/admissions. To speak with an admissions counselor, email to [email protected] or call any of COTC’s four campus locations: Newark – 740-366-9222; Coshocton – 740-622-1408; Knox – 740-392-2526; Pataskala – 740-755-7090.

“While we are very optimistic regarding continuing enrollment,” Berry said, “we know that impending cuts to COTC’s state-share-of-instruction (SSI) subsidy will bring great challenges for COTC and all of Ohio’s two-year colleges.” Currently, half of COTC’s operating budget is funded through SSI, Ohio’s primary mechanism of subsidizing the instructional costs at Ohio’s public institutions of higher education for the purpose of reducing the cost of tuition for Ohio residents.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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