Ivy Tech Community College has to be innovative and creative to meet the needs of its students, who have a mix of backgrounds.

Some come straight from high school, but many others are non-traditional students. Some work part-time while attending classes, and others are full-time workers who are coming back to school to earn a degree.

The diversity of ages, points in life and schedules means Ivy Tech has to work hard to meet the needs of students to help them get the advanced educations they seek.

So far, Ivy Tech’s Columbus campus has been successful because its enrollment of 5,731 students is up and expected to continue to grow. Spring semester enrollment is on pace for a 2 percent increase over last year.

Attracting more students has been accomplished by offering in-demand degrees such as nursing, advanced automation and robotics technology, and degrees that are more region-specific such as agriculture.

Ivy Tech Columbus also has partnered with local businesses through the Achieve Your Degree program to help workers earn degrees.

The college now is unveiling another way it plans to remain creative and innovative to meet the needs of students. Starting in the fall, Ivy Tech Columbus will offering most of its classes — about 70 percent — in eight-week blocks instead of the standard 16 weeks. The condensed class schedule also will apply to summer classes.

The idea is that the same number of course hours packed into a condensed schedule will be more attractive to students and prospective students, and as a result in boosting enrollment even more.

We think the schedule change is a good step.

More and more, students want to be assured they are getting a good value for their education. Providing the means to finish a class in half the time is an example of such value.

Ivy Tech has shown that thinking creatively about how to best serve students can reap positive benefits — for the students, for local employers and the college.

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