State gaining on enrollment, graduation goals

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State gaining on enrollment, graduation goals

Dayton Daily News – More than half a million Ohioans are currently enrolled in college, an increase of 65,231 students from 2007, and graduation rates are also climbing, according to the newest information from the Ohio Board of Regents.

Total fall 2009 college enrollment of 527,230 is moving closer to Gov. Ted Strickland’s goal of having nearly 700,000 Ohioans pursuing degrees by 2017. Local institutions saw gains – Sinclair Community College and Wright State University grew just about 7 percent.

“I feel what we can be most proud of is good solid progress across the board,” said Eric D. Fingerhut, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.

State officials are crediting increased affordability because of a past tuition freeze that morphed into an increase cap and the economic downturn with bolstering college attendance statewide. “I think the economy, no doubt, drove people back to school,” Fingerhut said.

Graduation rates also are climbing, according to the state data. Ohio jumped from 32nd to 25th in the nation with 36 percent of young adults holding an associates degree or higher. Residents with bachelor and master’s degrees are also climbing, the data from the 2008 U.S. Census American Community Survey said. Ohio Colleges awarded 2,157 more degrees last year than in 2007.

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