“Some college, no degree.” It’s a label that applies to about 36 million Americans who possess some postsecondary education but aren’t currently enrolled in college.
It’s also a population that Indiana Tech, a not-for-profit university based in Fort Wayne, Ind., is hoping to serve by opening a location at Stadium Park Plaza in downtown Bowling Green.
“We started as a college that was serving the needs of our community,” Indiana Tech President Karl Einolf said during a grand opening event Thursday, referring to the university’s roots as an engineering school that opened in 1930.
It now offers career-focused undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in business, criminal justice, information technology, health care administration, engineering, psychology and more, mainly through online courses.
“We serve students where their needs are,” Einolf said, describing Indiana Tech’s aim to get plugged into the workforce demands of Bowling Green’s local economy. “We want to know what employers need. We want to know what students need.”
Boasting 18 regional locations across Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky and about 9,000 students, Indiana Tech blends online course offerings with the support brick-and-mortar locations can offer.
While most classes are online, it does also offer on-site evening and weekend classes.
The Bowling Green campus is the third location the school has opened in the state, behind others in Louisville and Fort Wright in northern Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati.
With views overlooking Bowling Green Ballpark, the roughly 4,000-square-foot space on the third floor of Stadium Park Plaza features classroom, computer, office and conference room space. Representatives said the space could be used by local businesses when classes are not in session.
Indiana Tech representatives estimated the Bowling Green campus has already drawn a few dozen students, with classes starting this month.
The school is making plays to attract students, from a 20 percent discount it offers to employees at AFNI, to a matriculation agreement it’s negotiating with Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.
Christy Biggs, a human resources coordinator for AFNI, said during the event that she was inspired to go back to school and pursue her bachelor’s degree after learning of the discount.
“I’m grateful for them being in Bowling Green, and I’m looking forward to being an alumni,” Biggs told a crowd of attendees, which included several local elected officials.
“Bowling Green is a natural next step for us,” Einolf said in an interview following the event.
Despite the presence of SKYCTC and Western Kentucky University, Einolf said the educational needs of working adults seeking to finish their degrees still aren’t being fully met.
“We definitely see that need here,” he said.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.