Columbus State Community College’s new Delaware campus dean said that the school can represent different things — a way to advance in education and career, a tuition bargain, and even a home.
“Last autumn, we had 1,500 students — most of them from this area,” said Stacia Edwards, who also oversees Columbus State’s five regional learning centers. “This spring, 1,000 taking classes here are only taking classes here. The numbers have increased steadily since we opened.”
“This is the best-kept secret in Delaware,” added Columbus State spokesman Allen Kraus. “The students who enroll here love it here.”
The Delaware campus, at 5100 Cornerstone Drive (off U.S. 23), consists of 108 acres. It offers two-year associate of arts and associate of sciences degrees that are transferrable to other schools; technical degrees in business, management and information technology; and certificates in early childhood education and land surveying. In addition, 50 courses are offered online.
“We’re small in number, but mighty in services,” Edwards said, which includes having cross-trained staff. “The faculty are focused on teaching instead of research. That explains why people are so comfortable here.”
High school students in Big Walnut, Delaware and Olentangy schools will be able to take College Credit Plus courses this fall.
“Studies show that students who take some college courses while in high school tend to be more successful , post-graduation,” Edwards said.
The college said 60 percent of its students who graduate leave with no student loan debt.
This spring, Columbus State launched “EXACTTrack,” a new business program in partnership with Franklin University. The courses are pre-selected, one class is in the evening and one is online each term, and the terms are shorter, so degrees in business management and business administration can be earned in 3.5 years.
“The students take two courses at a time,” Edwards said. “It’s accelerated over eight weeks. It’s easier to help them. You have to be a special type of student, though, who knows they’re going to be doing this for 3.5 years.”
During a first-time “Delaware Day” event, Edwards said a student from Bowling Green told community members his two years at Columbus State prepared him for future courses and his peers can’t believe how much money he saved in tuition.
Edwards said one of the students surveyed by the college kept referring to Columbus State as home.
“It helped them get their academic legs, and they got support. For some students, this is a softer entry into college, and you can figure some things out while going to the community college.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.