College surpasses 3,000 mark

Published 3:08 pm Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Once considered “the little college that could,” Bainbridge College has achieved new stature as the growing college that does—and does its work well.

Pro-actively addressing quality issues for anticipated student growth, BC had several changes to enhance student services either completed or in the works when its growth surpassed expectations. Those changes include an advising center set to open this semester, the expanded Academic Resource Center that opened in January, construction of an 80,000-square-foot student life facility expected to open in 2010 after completion of a 10,000-square-foot addition to the Early County facility.

Conservative estimates made by the University System of Georgia had projected a student body of 3,700 by 2010, and the college had anticipated flat numbers for this academic year.

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But BC’s record enrollment of 3,018 for Fall 2008 was topped by unheard of increases this semester, according to Dr. Marty Clay, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services.

Enrollment for Spring 2009 stands at 3,147 combined headcount for Main Campus and the BC Early County Site (BCEC), an increase of 563 or 22 percent from Spring 2008. BCEC’s headcount is 817, up 183 or 28 percent over Spring 2008.

Those figures do not include students who registered but dropped out. The overall headcount does include students who may take only one or two classes instead of a full load of 12 to 15 semester hours. Therefore, figures of the full-time equivalent—or FTE count—are tracked for required reporting.

After subtracting figures for students who dropped out or were dropped from rolls for non-payment, the FTE for both locations stands at 2,459—up 483 or 24 percent above Spring 2008. Blakely’s FTE is 518, an increase of 128 or 32 percent above Spring 2008.

“We are up 4 percent in headcount and 6 percent in FTE in Spring 2009,” said Vice President Clay.

“It is unheard of for the spring enrollment to be greater than in the fall,” he noted.

Among the improvements the college put into place or has in progress to enhance its growing population are the relocating of the award-winning Academic Resource Center (ARC) and preparation of a new advising center to open in the Student Center in time for registration for this year’s summer term.

The advising center will be in the former ARC location, and serve as a one-stop advising center, located near both the Admissions Office and the Financial Aid Office, which are in the Student Center.

As 2008 came to an end, the ARC looked forward to its new beginning, moving from its small space in the Student Center to larger facilities in the Oak Center. It has expanded the layout of its computer lab and main tutoring area, has a separate study area for small groups, a relaxing seating area with extra resources and reading materials, has handicapped-accessible restrooms, sufficient storage space, and a space for preparing snacks. Tutors and students often study on the outdoor deck area.

The Testing and Career Counseling Center, which also accommodates the Disabilities Services, serves students in the Main Campus Library. Additional area in the Student Center is to be renovated to accommodate the Testing/Disabilities services, as well.