STEUBENVILLE - Enrollment records at Eastern Gateway Community College marked another banner year this fall.
The school's preliminary headcount stands at 2,816, which is an all-time high for the college that serves Jefferson, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
In fall 2012, enrollment was 2,532 so this year's count shows an 11 percent increase. Enrollment was up 3 percent in the spring semester and in the summer sessions.
The college's student count is up at all locations, including the Jefferson County Campus in Steubenville, Valley Center in Youngstown and Warren Center in Warren, the college's board of trustees learned while meeting in Youngstown.
"We are really excited about our enrollment numbers," said James Baber, executive vice president for academic and student affairs. "The number of students taking a full-time load is up significantly at 22 percent."
Of the 2,816 fall students, 1,414 are registered in 12 or more credits to make them full-time students. New students increased to 1,195 from 928, a 29 percent increase from fall 2012. More than a third of the student population takes at least one online class.
The largest increase recorded is at the Valley Center and online within 10 miles of the center. That enrollment increased 52 percent from 649 in 2012 to 986 this year. The college established a permanent Valley Center location in downtown Youngstown which contributed to the growth as well as the addition of program offerings and the growing reputation and understanding of the community college, said Laura Meeks, college president.
The Jefferson County Campus experienced an enrollment jump of 2 percent with 1,261 students, while at the Warren Center, the headcount grew from 12 students in 2012 to 61 students this fall.
The board approved associate degree and certificate programs in natural gas and oil technology. The associate degree must be approved by the Ohio Board of Regents before implementation, but the certificate program is now available to students. The certificate prepares students with basic occupational skills for job entry, upgrading, cross training and retraining purposes. The certificate courses also may be applied to the associate degree.
The natural gas and oil technology certificate requires 19 college credit hours of courses. Students who complete this program will develop a comprehensive understanding of the activities in the natural gas and oil industry, including: exploration, drilling, production (upstream), processing, transportation, storage (midstream), distribution (downstream) and the environmental and safety aspects related to each. Holders of this certificate may secure jobs such as production operator, well tender, pumper, field operations and maintenance, heavy equipment maintenance, water management technician, measurement and regulation technician, field safety representatives, seismic crew member, hydraulic fracturing crew member, casing crew member, drilling crew member, service team member, boring team member, logging crew member, compressor operator, processing operators and well testing technicians.
In other business, trustees approved the purchase of a VRTEC 360 virtual reality arc welder for use in the welding program. The purchase will be made with grants from the Dominion Foundation and non-credit job training.
The board also learned that two processes are under way. The first is for the periodic review of the college's mission statement. The second is for development of the college's capital requests for the next state biennium. Both will be ongoing for the next few months.