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Record Enrollment at IRSC Bucks State and National Trends

The number of first-time-in-college students attending IRSC this fall has set a record with more than 3,200 students.

Fort Pierce - Wednesday October 19, 2022: The number of first-time-in-college students attending IRSC this fall has set a record with more than 3,200 students.

More than one-third of area high school graduates are attending IRSC this fall, a matriculation rate not seen in at least a decade. This incoming cohort is +44% higher than the 10-year average of 2,242 students.

Total enrollment at IRSC this semester is up +8.9% and all five campuses in Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, Port St. Lucie, Stuart and Vero Beach are bustling with activity.

The surge in enrollment is thanks, in large part, to the IRSC Promise program. The Promise program was announced in March of this year by IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. It offers tuition-free enrollment for students who have graduated from public and public charter high schools in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie County. The costs are covered by the IRSC Foundation with funds provided by generous donor philanthropy and unrestricted investment proceeds.

“We could not allow enrollment to continue its slide," said Dr. Moore. "In early 2022, I challenged my team to break the mold and take immediate action.”

Eligible Promise students commit to full-time enrollment in IRSC Associate in Arts or Associate in Science/Associate in Applied Science degree programs. Promise students do not have to show financial need to apply. They must only meet the minimum 2.0 GPA required for high school graduation.

“The investment in our students is certainly paying off,” said Michael Hageloh, IRSC Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. “We are grateful to our Foundation Board and generous donors for their vision and unwavering commitment to the College and our community.”

The increased enrollment at IRSC bucks the national trend. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that total college enrollment for spring 2022 fell -4.1%, the fifth-consecutive national enrollment decline. Community colleges were hit the hardest, but college-going among students at four-year institutions also declined.

IRSC is one of only a handful of higher education institutions nationwide that have reversed the enrollment trend and stopped gaps in the following critical areas:

  • Male student enrollment—the number of males and females in the Fall 2022 FTIC cohort increased similarly for both genders.
  • Hispanic student enrollment—the fall 2022 FTIC cohort has nearly double the number of Hispanic students compared to prior cohorts. In fact, 71% of incoming Promise students are Hispanic.
  • First-generation college enrollment—the number of first-generation college students in the fall 2022 FTIC cohort is more than triple that of the previous fall.
  • Pell-eligible enrollment—the number of Pell-eligible students in the fall 2022 FTIC cohort is the highest in years, nearly +47% year-over-year.

“Data show that once a student steps on the up escalator of higher education, they will continue,” shares Elizabeth Gaskin, Vice President for Student Success. “We are confident that providing the opportunity to earn a tuition-paid Associate Degree at IRSC is inspiring educational awakenings for our Promise students—awakenings that will continue throughout their lifetimes.”
IRSC is an Adobe Creative Campus, a Bloomberg Experiential Learning Partner and a Wolfram Technology Computational Thinking College.

About Indian River State College
Indian River State College (IRSC) offers high-quality, affordable and accessible education to the residents of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties through traditional and online delivery. The College is ranked the second most affordable in the nation. It serves 22,000 students annually and offers more than 100 programs leading to Bachelor’s degrees, Associate degrees, technical certificates and applied technology diplomas.