Go back

Despite deployment, Center @ Fort Campbell sees enrollment increase

August 19, 2003

Enrollment for Fall I at the Austin Peay Center@ Fort Campbell increased, despite the deployment of about 20,000 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and other troops in special units based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Enrollment data for Fall I 2003 compared to Fall I Term 2002 shows APSU had an 11.7 percent increase in FTE (full-time equivalency) students, with 459 FTE this year compared to 411 FTE last year. Headcount enrollment is up 9.2 percent, with 1,169 enrollments compared to 1,071.
August 19, 2003

Enrollment for Fall I at the Austin Peay Center@ Fort Campbell increased, despite the deployment of about 20,000 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and other troops in special units based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Enrollment data for Fall I 2003 compared to Fall I Term 2002 shows APSU had an 11.7 percent increase in FTE (full-time equivalency) students, with 459 FTE this year compared to 411 FTE last year. Headcount enrollment is up 9.2 percent, with 1,169 enrollments compared to 1,071.

As expected, enrollment of active-duty soldiers declined 18.4 percent, but other categories of students attending classes on post compensated for it. The enrollment of retirees increased 59.2 percent. There was a 31.1 percent increase in family members and 5.2 percent increase in civilians.

Gerald Beavers, executive director of the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell, believes several factors contributed to the increase, including the fact that, during tough economic times, demand for higher education increases. He also said more and more jobs today require higher education.

According to Beavers, the effect of the deployment of the 101st was lessened by two factors: First, many of the activated National Guard and Reserves, stationed at Fort Campbell, are taking advantage of the 100 percent tuition assistance offered by the U.S. Army.

“It's an opportunity they can't afford to pass up,” he said.

Second, military dependents now understand the need for more education so, rather than going “home” while their soldiers are deployed, they are using that time to improve themselves.

After expressing his appreciation for collaborative efforts of the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell, the Admissions Office and the Public Relations and Marketing Office, Beavers noted that the quality of APSU's programs and courses and the availability of courses from 8:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. help boost student enrollment.

“We have been strongly supported by the main campus departments and colleges, making it possible for us to offer more programs and different courses,” Beavers said. “And last but not least, we have a strong personal-service mentality. As I read the many comment cards from students, they are pleased with how they were treated by everyone at the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell.”

Beavers pointed out that more and more students at Fort Campbell are taking online courses through APSU. “For Fall I after the 14th day of classes, we had 24 online courses…with a total enrollment of 453 students. We are increasing the number and type of online courses, because of their popularity among students with other commitments, such as spouses of deployed soldiers.”

Dr. Houston Davis, assistant vice president for academic affairs, thinks the real story is that for three consecutive years, the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell has seen significant enrollment increases in family members and retirees and a steady increase in the number of civilians.

“In times of peace, the Army requires at least half of the Fort Campbell enrollment be soldiers, so when they are here, the first two days of registration are for active-duty soldiers only. By the time dependents, retirees and civilians can register, many classes are full. With the troops gone, these other categories can take the open enrollment slots.

“For us, it's a conundrum. In the short term, it's great, because we're better able to serve a market we generally cannot serve on post. The challenge for the University is to plan for ways to serve all four groups in the future. To meet their educational needs, we at Austin Peay must be creative in looking for other options.”