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EFSC Marks Important Fall Term Milestone

August 9, 2018 - Eastern Florida State College President Dr. Jim Richey updated faculty and staff on the college’s progress Thursday, Aug. 9, during the annual Welcome Back event to mark the start of the 2018-19 academic year. Here is a transcript of his remarks given at the King Center for the Performing Arts on the Melbourne Campus.

Good morning everyone and welcome back!

Male in suit, Dr. Jim Richey - EFSC PresidentI sure hope you had a great summer. As we return to campus, we do so at a remarkable time for the college. We continue expanding opportunities for our students in many ways, and growing our reputation as among the top institutions of higher education in our state.

Our return for the fall semester also comes with another important milestone.

Please know this term marks the 5th anniversary of us launching of our Bachelor Degrees and other new academic programs that have transformed our college.

It is an accomplishment that we all share together and is certainly a point of pride.

The results are impressive.

To date, we have started 57 new programs in the most rapid expansion of programs in the college’s history.

They include nearly 20 Bachelor's Degree tracks, nine Associate in Science Degrees and more than two dozen College Certificates and Technical Diplomas.

More than 6,800 students have enrolled in the new programs since 2013, and nearly 1,200 students have earned degrees in those programs during that time.

Bachelor's Degrees Highly Popular

Graduates in blue and green robesBachelor Degree tracks remain the most popular of the new programs.

More than 2,000 students enrolled in them during the 2017-18 academic year, and more than 750 have graduated since they began.

If fact, as of today, for this term, we have enrolled more than 1,500 students seeking Bachelor's Degrees from our college.

We are on pace to see another 17 percent to 20 percent increase in Bachelors students this year.

The average Bachelor’s Degree student is 33-years-old, and is attending the college to advance their education and career.

Associate in Science Degrees in Health Care and programs in Aviation Maintenance and Technology are also very popular.

In all, the new programs are providing excellent career opportunities to graduates.

I can also assure you that more new programs are planned as we look ahead to 2019 and beyond.

Now, in other areas, it is critical that we continue offering students more pathways to success.

Increasing Online Degrees, Courses

elearning studentsA good example is eLearning, where we have increased the number of courses and degrees offered completely online.

Here is a snapshot:

In our last Spring Term, there were nearly 7,000 students enrolled in 243 online courses, a 12 percent increase over the previous year.

There also were approximately 1,300 students enrolled in online Bachelor’s Degree courses, representing a 25 percent increase.

A record 11 Bachelor’s Degree tracks were offered completely online, along with an Associate’s Degree, four Associate in Science Degree tracks and 18 College Certificates.

The online enrollment statistics shows a strong demand for flexible learning opportunities.

Fundamental Shift in Opportunities

Surgical Technology ClassroomFurthermore, we also continue increasing the number of articulation agreements with Florida universities and state colleges, guaranteeing admission for our students who graduate with select Bachelor and Associate Degrees.

We now have 11 agreements in place for students to transfer directly to pursue Bachelor Degrees, and to begin Master and Doctoral programs at other institutions.

These facts show the fundamental shift we have made as a college, and underscore the tremendous opportunities our students now have to pursue their goals.

For example, the thought that a student can start here, earn a Bachelor’s Degree and be accepted directly into medical school is a game-changer.

By the way, these exact scenarios are actually taking place as we speak. Again, a point of particular pride for all of us.

In addition, for the record, please know that another 16 new articulation agreements are also in the works.

Keeping College Education Affordable

Scholarship Recipient in front of Cocoa LibraryYou should also know that we are making all these strides while keeping the cost of a college education within financial reach.

To that end, this is the 7th straight year we have not raised tuition, maintaining our standard as one of the most affordable colleges to attend in Florida and the nation.

Furthermore, we continue growing the Eastern Florida State College Foundation, which awarded a record 766 scholarships last year.

That is a 40 percent increase from the previous year and another sign of our commitment to affordability.

More New Facilities, Buildings

Student Union RenderingMeanwhile, we continue investing in new facilities and buildings to support our academic mission.

In one important move, the college recently received a $2.57 million state grant to train students for jobs in aerospace and advanced manufacturing.

Those funds will help us create a talent pipeline and play a key role in training a new generation of employees for local companies.

The grant money will be used to ramp-up a new state-of-the art Robotics Lab on the Palm Bay Campus.

Other funds from the grant will create a new Mechatronics Lab on the Cocoa Campus.

There will also be new advanced welding equipment for the Cocoa Campus, and new aviation simulators for our Aviation Center at Melbourne International Airport.

And here on the Melbourne campus, construction of a new Student Union is on schedule, with completion set for late this year and the doors opening in January.

Dedicated to Student Success

Faculty helping students in a classroomIn closing, I would like to offer this example of the value of an Eastern Florida education, and the success our students are having because of your dedicated efforts.

This year, a record number of 10 EFSC students were named to the 2018 All-Florida Academic Team for their outstanding scholarship and work in the community.

The team consists of just 141 students from the 28-member Florida College System, which has enrollment that exceeds 800,000 students.

Thank you again for your commitment to our college and our students. Welcome Back!