Pulaski Technical College recorded a 7 percent increase in enrollment for the fall 2011 semester over this time last year, marking a record number of students at the state's largest two-year college, college president Dr. Dan F. Bakke announced.
The college's has 11,947 students enrolled in classes this fall, compared to 11,199 last fall.
According to preliminary reports released by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Pulaski Tech is now the fourth largest institution of higher education in Arkansas. The University of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Arkansas State University have larger enrollments.
The college, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has had steady enrollment growth since 1991, when the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 1244 that converted 12 of the state's vocational-technical institutions into colleges and brought them under the guidance of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. At that time, Pulaski Tech had 800 students.
Most Pulaski Tech students are enrolled in the college's university transfer curriculum and plan to continue their education at a four-year college or university. Pulaski Tech, in fact, is the largest feeder institution to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
"We provide a starting point for thousands of students who set out to do better for themselves and their families," Dr. Bakke said. "One of our strengths has been our ability to adapt to our students' needs and also to the needs of our economy. We've added sites and online offerings to make education more accessible to students, and we've implemented new academic programs and training programs to meet the needs of businesses and industry."
Last year, the college opened a Weatherization Training Center to train people for occupations related to green jobs technology. The college's Arkansas Culinary School continues to be a regional draw, with more than 400 students enrolled in culinary and hospitality courses this semester. Most recently, the college began offering an Anesthesia Technology option to its Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health, and the college's Information Technology Division is currently preparing to offer a program in scripted film and digital content production management that will train workers for the state's burgeoning film industry.
Classes began Aug. 15, and enrollment from the 11th day of class is used for reporting to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
Of this fall's enrollment:
- 71 percent of students are enrolled in the university-transfer curriculum and plan to continue their education at a four-year college or university.
- 67 percent are female; 33 percent are male.
- The student body racial make-up is 53 percent black; 41 percent white; 3 percent Hispanic; and 3 percent other.
- 51 percent are full-time students; 49 percent are part-time students.
- The average student age is 29 years old.
- 5,321 students are enrolled in at least one online course.
Pulaski Tech's enrollment includes students attending the college's main campus in North Little Rock, Little Rock-West at 8901 Kanis Road, Little Rock-South on Interstate 30, Saline County Career Center, Aerospace Technology Center near the North Little Rock Airport, and some credit classes at the Business and Industry Center in Little Rock.
Pulaski Technical College is a comprehensive two-year college that serves the educational needs of central Arkansas through more than 90 occupational/technical degree and certificate programs, a university-transfer curriculum and specialized programs for business and industry.