October 1, 2014

higher education

New Degrees Enhance Indian River College

Mike Vogel | 12/1/2008
Indian River State College nursing students
Indian River State College nursing students Jacelyn Mikels and Robert Carrano train on “Stan,” the college’s human patient simulator.

Since January, 1,000 wannabe teachers, nurses, healthcare managers and others have enrolled in nine new baccalaureate degree programs at Indian River State College. “It’s been exciting to see the response,” says President Edwin Massey. He’s considering an additional 10 workforce-oriented degrees, including engineering technology and nanotechnology.

Edwin Massey
“It’s been a very, very positive experience for us.” — Indian River State College President Edwin Massey on offering four-year degrees
Indian River Community College, as it was known until July 1, was one of nine schools the Legislature placed in a pilot program that will create the Florida College System — community colleges with added four-year degrees in high-need workforce-related fields.

Through such comprehensive colleges, the Legislature hopes to inexpensively close the gap between the state’s demand for baccalaureate degree holders and Florida universities’ inability to supply them. The legislation requires the comprehensive colleges to provide degrees at a “substantial savings” over a university. A task force will recommend a funding plan to the Legislature by its next session. “I think we can do a great job for the state of Florida, and I think we can do it at low cost,” Massey says.

Overall, Indian River enrollment climbed 8% this year. Attendance usually jumps in tough times as the unemployed embrace education to boost careers and as families can’t afford to send their kids away to college. Capped Florida university enrollment also has turned students local. The number of Indian River students on Bright Futures scholarships increased 120% since 2001 to 1,212.

Tags: Southeast, Education

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