Due to difficult economic conditions, colleges across the state are seeing a decline in enrollment numbers.
But Heidelberg University and Tiffin University are seeing an increase in undergraduate admissions.
For Tiffin University, 447 new freshmen enrolled for the 2012 fall semester - the largest freshman class in Tiffin's history.
As of Sept. 13, Heidelberg also has had an increase in freshmen numbers - 345 freshmen, the fifth largest class in four decades and 70 more than the previous year. The class standing over all for Heidelberg is 1,400 including undergraduates, transfer students, graduate students, high school options students and other programs.
For TU, that number is 1,642, a one year 7.4 percent increase and a 92.0 percent increase over nine-years.
"Research shows that there are less high school graduates, meaning less college students," Tiffin University President Paul Marion said.
In an article published by the Dayton Daily News, the decline in enrollment across Ohio is due to changes in federal financial aid, meaning fewer students are not eligible. As a result of the economy, some Ohioans are going straight to work instead of college.
So why is enrollment increasing for these two colleges?
"Our academic reputation and student satisfaction," Marion said. "Word gets out that students have a good experience."
To keep new students coming and to appeal to possible future students, Tiffin University has made some improvements recently. The Cole Dining Hall expanded 2,900 square feet to accommodate diners, and The Heminger Center was completed and opened this year, which includes an indoor practice facility with artificial turf, and a field house with a competition track, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.
Heidelberg also went through some changes in the past three years. There is the addition of the Saurwein Health and Wellness Center and Adams Hall, home of the school of business, a new pod-style residence and learning hall with adjoining University Commons housing the Fireside Cafe and Pub and Tower Plaza.
Both schools also made changes in academic offers and added new majors and programs.
"We are changing our academic offerings and focusing on value and the long-term outcomes of students," said Lindsay Sooy, vice president for enrollment management at Heidelberg. "We are preparing students not only for their first job but for a long-term career."
Study abroad programs are becoming more popular.
"They are enticing and give students a better outlook on the world, more independence and overall is a great experience," said Lisa Williams, executive director of Media and Public Relations for Tiffin University.
There also is an increase in the international student enrollment. Tiffin University has students attending from 27 countries including Australia, Brazil, Germany and Venezuela.
Even in a difficult economy, Marion says "it is very beneficial" for people to invest in a college degree.
"Living in a knowledge based economy, individuals today do better off with a bachelors degree," he said.
"It is hard for students to think about. Students have to ask themselves, 'Do I want to spend the money?' For the long-term and finding a career, it is beneficial," Sooy said.
Employers today seek the critical thinking and networking skills graduates learn, Sooy said.
"They look for not to just have specific training but for students to know and have an idea of the field and be able to put to use the thinking critical skills and to be able to solve problems."
Times are changing and students have to look for changes that happen constantly.
"Research has shown that employers are looking for a college graduate who is highly confident, excited to learn, good communications skills, excellent written and spoken English, ability to cope with change and are able to positively transform an organization in the face of change, anticipate change, and effectively communicate with colleagues as well as clients and customers. Enthusiasm is important. It isn't just an interest, but a passion to do what you are interested in," Williams said.
Terra State Community College in Fremont unfortunately is no exception to the decline in enrollment numbers. According to Terra's website, the official numbers for this fall are 3,172, which are down 9 percent. Full-time equivalency is at 963.1, down 10.6 percent. FTE is calculated by the total number of credit hours for all students registered by the census day divided by 30 credits for campuses on a semester system and 45 credits for those on a quarter system.
"We anticipated the decline," said Kristen Taylor, director of Admissions and Enrollment Services for Terra State Community College.
"We see this as an opportunity and being responsible about watching how we operate," she said.
Taylor added that the school is "incorporating new and creative ways to reach out to students," including new programs being offered in hospitality management and physical therapy.
Terra also is working with local school districts including Tiffin City Schools to incorporate a "College Access Program" to assist high school students with academic and test preparation opportunities, financial aid assistance, career exploration, and research colleges and universities. Carrie Hoffman is to represent Terra at Tiffin Columbian. For information, call (419) 447-6331 ext 1510.