Workforce Programs Growing at Nicholls

THIBODAUX — Enrollment has grown substantially in two Nicholls State University departments geared toward addressing workforce needs in the region.

The Nicholls Department of Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management (PETSM) grew by 153 students, for a total enrollment of 459 students this fall — a 50 percent increase from 2013. PETSM has been educating upstream oil and gas professionals for 40 years, and offers the only known program designed to accommodate the unique schedule of south Louisiana’s offshore workers.

The Nicholls Department of Management, Marketing and Business Administration also saw significant growth, enrolling 717 students in the fall 2014 semester — an increase of 102 students over fall 2013. That growth was attributed to the creation of popular new programs, including the online bachelor’s degree in business administration and a maritime management concentration designed to prepare students for a management career in the maritime industry, with a focus on the oil and gas sector and associated businesses.

The maritime management program added 53 new students this fall, for a total of 82 students. The online bachelor’s degree program in business administration added 57 students this semester, for a total of 70 students. Overall enrollment in Nicholls Online also nearly doubled, increasing from 174 students last fall to 324 students this fall.

“Our enrollment increases in petroleum, safety, maritime and online programs showcase the university’s ongoing efforts to collaborate with industry and produce well-qualified graduates ready to meet regional workforce needs,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president. “Continuing to grow these high-demand programs and others, such as culinary arts, will help Nicholls attract more students and increase overall enrollment in years to come.”

Overall enrollment is down 3.7 percent this semester, with 6,298 students enrolled for the fall 2014 semester compared to 6,540 last fall. Nicholls anticipated the decrease due to its record-breaking graduation class last year, and new, higher admission standards that do not allow for students who need developmental courses. Despite the change, admission for first-time freshmen held relatively steady at 1,210 students versus 1,243 last fall.

Stronger admissions standards also helped to attract higher-quality students to Nicholls. First-time freshmen entering Nicholls had the highest ACT scores of any class in history, with an average score of 21.82. Thirty-eight students also entered Nicholls with valedictorian scholarships, an increase of 8.6 percent.

For more enrollment statistics and other data related to Nicholls, visit www.nicholls.edu/institutional-research/data.

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