OCU Enrollment Reaches New Record

OCU Student Center

Ohio Christian University has once again reached record enrollment this year, topping more than 3,800 students. Enrollment has grown by about 19 percent, according to Dr. Hank Kelly, OCU provost. That number includes more than 850 students on campus, up from 750 last year on campus with 3,150 students enrolled.

Rick Christman, assistant provost and vice president for academic and student services, said OCU had to make additional accommodations for the additional students this year.

“There’s not an empty bed this year,” Christman said. “In fact, we converted the old Welcome Center into a 19-bed residence hall to accommodate more students.”

Kelly credits the increase to the university’s campus making it less desirable for students to commute, ultimately raising on-campus numbers.

“Our student center just opened last November, and it now has a ‘wow factor’ that it didn’t have before,” Kelly said. “The percentage of students living on campus has grown. Every fall that’s an issue that we have to address.”

Christman said the campus is now attractive to its students.

“We’re creating a really strong campus environment, and students want to be here, so commuting is not as attractive as it used to be,” Christman said.

Moving forward, Kelly said creating more residence halls and chapel space would be two of the bigger challenges the university will need to address.

“We need more beds if we’re going to grow, or otherwise we’ll have more commuters,” Kelly said. “Another challenge is chapel space. At this point we have to have two chapels, and both of those are full. So we are starting a capital campaign for a music performing arts center which will double as a chapel, which should hold about 1,000 people.”

Kelly said having more students on campus can benefit the community as well as the school.

“Each of our traditional students have a service requirement, but the good news is that many of them continue beyond their minimum requirements,” Kelly said. “We’ve already received two community service awards, and we’re about serving the community.”

Christman said the increase in students will also increase the workforce around town for student workers.

“As there are more students on campus, there’s more cry for jobs,” Christman said. “There are limited student positions on campus, and so they have to go off-campus. So we’re getting a lot of requests from businesses for our students to work in their businesses.”

By Steven Collins, Staff Reporter for The Circleville Herald

Originally posted on circlevilletoday.com.