Wor-Wic Enrollment Growth is Greatest in the State
August 01, 2008

In the wake of new program offerings and curriculum expansions, Wor-Wic Community College continues to be the fastest growing community college in the state.

“Fall enrollments are up again,” explained Dr. Ray Hoy, president of Wor-Wic. “We have 20 percent more students enrolled for the coming fall semester compared to last fall at this time.”

Wor-Wic’s student body grew by nine percent from the fall of 2006 to the fall of 2007 -- a higher increase than any other community college in the state. In fact, Wor-Wic has led the state in enrollment growth over the last 10-year period -- 61 percent from the fall of 1997 through the fall of 2007 -- again the highest in the state.

Projections developed by the Maryland Higher Education Commission indicate that Wor-Wic will continue to surpass enrollment growth at the other community colleges over the next 10-year period -- with a 31 percent rate of growth, compared to 15 percent statewide.

“There are many reasons for our growth,” Hoy said. “In bad economic times, workers flock to community colleges to upgrade their skills or train for new careers. Community colleges are often thought of first because they provide a quality education at a reasonable cost in a shorter period of time.”

Hoy said it might not be coincidental that Wor-Wic has the greatest growth and the lowest cost.

“Wor-Wic’s tuition and fees are the lowest in the state,” Hoy said. “They are about one-third of the average cost of public four-year institutions in Maryland.

“The biggest growth area has been among first-time full-time students,” Hoy added. “We are seeing more and more recent high school graduates saving money by beginning their education at Wor-Wic and then successfully transferring to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree.”

In recent years, in order to meet local workforce demands, Wor-Wic has added a variety of new credit program options. This fall, the college is introducing a new associate degree computer engineering technology program option. Culinary arts, forensic science and science transfer were also added recently.

Curriculum changes over the last few years, including the addition of online and hybrid courses, as well as recent nursing program expansions, have also contributed to the increase in enrollments.

Wor-Wic offered its first online course in 1990. In the past year, almost 1,400 students were enrolled in more than 30 different online courses. In an online course, students use the Internet to access course materials and communicate with the instructor and other students enrolled in the class.

Last summer, Wor-Wic began offering a 10-week session of online courses geared toward local students returning home for the summer from four-year universities. Enrollment last year was at 80 percent capacity, and this summer every class is full.

Last fall, Wor-Wic introduced hybrid courses, a blend of face-to-face classroom instruction and Web-based instruction. Students are required to attend class on campus, as well as complete assignments using the Internet.

More than 20 sections of hybrid courses have been offered since last fall, enrolling more than 350 students.

“Students are very interested in hybrid and online courses,” Sherman said. “An added benefit of these classes to the college is that they free up much-needed classroom space on campus for other courses.”

GROWTH RATE. From the fall of 1997 to the fall of 2007, Wor-Wic‘s enrollment increased at a higher rate than any other Maryland community college. Wor-Wic’s 61 percent growth rate is compared with the rates of the other small community colleges in the state and the 28 percent statewide average.

PROJECTED GROWTH. Wor-Wic’s headcount increased from 2,054 students in the fall of 1997 to 3,298 students in the fall of 2007. The college is expected to add more than 1,000 students by the fall of 2017 for a projected growth of 31 percent, while statewide growth for the same period is expected to be 15 percent.