Miami’s regional campuses see jump in 4-year degrees

Usually regional university campuses are feeders into a main campus, but Miami University’s regional campuses in Middletown and Hamilton are seeing a 480 percent increase in four-year, undergraduate degrees in recent years.

Undergraduate degrees awarded to students from the two Butler County campuses have jumped 480 percent — from 55 in 2008 to 319 in 2015, Miami University officials announced recently.

Miami University Hamilton student Ricardo Ugas says he is looking forward to adding to that trend when he graduates with a four-year degree in 2017.

And the junior mechanical engineering technology major says he isn’t surprised by the growing popularity of Miami’s regional campuses.

“Number one, it’s affordable. If I went to classes at Miami’s main campus (Oxford), it would cost about four times more in tuition,” says Ugas, who commutes from Warren County’s village of Maineville to attend undergraduate classes.

“And I really love the family feel here and how you get to meet more with your professors because of the smaller classrooms,” he says. “And rather than live on campus, I can live at home and save more money.”

Miami created Ohio’s first regional campus in 1966, but in recent years the role of the satellite schools have expanded.

Traditionally, regional campuses for Miami and other area universities have largely played the role of feeder institutions to a college’s main campus. Two-year associate degrees still dominant the academic majors offered at most regional campuses.

But climbing enrollment helped prompt Miami officials to expand the undergraduate degree offerings at regional campuses.

In the last decade, Hamilton’s campus enrollment is up 25 percent to 2,971 students, while Middletown’s campus has seen a 2.4 percent increase to 1,914 for the same period.

Perry Richardson, director of marketing for Miami’s regional schools, says 480 percent increase in student graduates earning an undergraduate degree without taking one class on Miami’s main campus is a trend with no end in sight.

“Miami regionals are now a four-year destination,” says Richardson. “The jump in the number of bachelor’s degrees being awarded on the regional campuses is due primarily to the addition of new bachelor’s degrees beginning with Integrative Studies in 2008 and Health Information Technology in 2010.”

“We’ve been adding one or two new bachelor’s degrees a year since 2010 and having four-year degrees available on the regional campuses empowers location-bound students to graduate from Miami,” says Richardson.

Miami University President David Hodge says regional campus represent the school’s “way of responding to the needs of our students and our region with targeted four-year degrees.”

“By continuing to develop impactful academic options, we deepen Miami’s commitment to the development of our communities,” says Hodge.

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