More than twice as many students earned certificates or degrees from Central Oregon Community College last year than did just four years ago, officials said Thursday. While headcount enrollment increased by 43 percent, the number of students earning certificates or degrees jumped by 104 percent.
"We are quite pleased by the results outlined in our Completion Report," COCC President Jim Middleton said. "The state's 40/40/20 goal and the Achievement Compacts we have filed with the state have challenged us to increase student success, particularly as measured by students completing their programs.
"This report shows significant accomplishment by our students, faculty and staff – despite minimal additional resources during this time of tremendous growth."
COCC awarded 666 degrees and 488 certificates of completion in 2011-12, compared to 317 and 201 respectively in 2007-08. The largest increases came in the college's Career and Technical Education programs where students earned 802 degrees and certificates, up from 346, resulting in a 132 percent increase.
"The most dramatic growth is in completions related to job preparation," Middleton said. "These results reinforce our commitment to helping students become career ready, and to our being an economic asset for the region."
COCC's CTE programs include automotive, aviation, business administration, computer and information systems, culinary, criminal justice, emergency medical services, fire science, forest resources technology, geographic information systems, health careers (nursing, dental and medical assisting, massage therapy and pharmacy and veterinary technician) and manufacturing.
Middleton also pointed out that more students in underrepresented groups achieved certificates and degrees. While enrollment of Native American students increased by 37 percent in the last four years, the number earning certificates or degrees jumped by 130 percent. For Hispanic students, enrollment jumped by 92 percent and degrees and certificates earned increased by 145 percent.
"Increasing credential achievement for Hispanic and Native American students has been highlighted as a national imperative," Middleton said. "Increased attention to student services for Hispanic and Native American students is a contributing factor to this success."
Overall, the number of certificates and degrees earned by students increased from 528 to 1,154 during the four-year period. This includes some students who earned more than one certificate or degree.
"We still have a long way to go, but our trajectory demonstrates that faculty, staff and students are dedicated to helping students get to the finish line to benefit them and the community," Middleton said.