MUNCIE, Ind. — As students headed back to college campuses across the country for the fall semester, Muncie’s Ivy Tech system saw a 40% increase in first-time students, said Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services Wayne Johnson. There has also been a 4.6% increase in enrollment overall.
About 70% of students are on campus this fall, with about 30% online, said Chancellor Jeffrey Scott. Ivy Tech also has its “Learn Anywhere” model, where students can tune into a live classroom to listen to the lecture and participate from anywhere.
Ivy Tech’s Muncie service area includes both the Muncie and Henry County locations. Currently, the total headcount for this semester is 2,169 students. It is only one of three service areas to see that type of growth this semester.
“Our students tend to want to be on campus and have ability to build relationships,” Scott said. “Our entire team cherishes the ability to utilize social capital we’ve earned to support our students.”
With a large percentage of newly enrolled students coming in, some departments have also seen an increase in their majors, said Jennifer Gasiorek, executive director of workforce partnerships and strategic communications.
One of the local Ivy Tech’s biggest enrollment increases was seen in the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Applied Science.
“Muncie and Henry County has high-wage and in-demand jobs in the area of manufacturing,” Gasiorek said. “Ivy Tech is helping provide a workforce pipeline to industry partners.”
A new sonography cohort also started this fall, which Gasiorek said was created in response to community needs.
The increase in new students could be due to the rollout of the school’s new tuition model, Ivy+, which was adopted in June. The plan included freezing tuition for the next two years, and it also covers the cost of textbooks for students in the 2021-22 academic year.
The model charges the same tuition rate for full-time students enrolled in 12 or more credits. If a student takes 12 credits, 15 or even 24 credits in a given term, the cost of tuition will be the same.
“This investment will save students hundreds of dollars each year and, most importantly, ensure they have the materials they need to succeed on day one,” Gasiorek said.
Chesterfield’s Café, which held its grand opening at the new George and Frances Ball Building in February 2020, is also returning this semester.
Run by Ivy Tech’s culinary students, the café is open to the community 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday through Friday at 125 S. High St. Chesterfield’s was closed to the public for about three months earlier in the pandemic.
Like other colleges and universities, Ivy Tech has implemented a mask mandate on its campuses, and social distancing is still encouraged.
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Charlotte Stefanski is a reporter at The Star Press. Contact her at 765-283-5543, [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @CharStefanski.