Concordia University offers first online-only course; Austin Community College encourages students to use public transit

The area's two post-secondary schools, Concordia University and Austin Community College, each report escalating enrollment as classes resume in late August.

Concordia in Northwest Austin expects record enrollment this fall, said Melinda Brasher, assistant vice president of communications. Last year, the school had 2,658 students enrolled at its Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio campuses.

"We've broken records in enrollment for the past five years, and we've more than tripled enrollment since we moved to [the Northwest Austin] campus," she said.

Concordia is offering for the first time several new courses, including its first fully online program—a master's of education in differentiated instruction.

"Basically that program is designed for educators who want to teach in inclusion classrooms. It helps prepare teachers to do modification in the classroom and include all students," Brasher said. "They can enroll from anywhere and do the entire thing online, and it's my understanding that there are not very many schools that offer this type of program."

At ACC's Cypress Creek Campus in Cedar Park, enrollment from the Leander/Cedar Park area increased 41 percent the past five years, said Alexis Patterson Hanes, senior public information coordinator. Last spring, student enrollment at ACC Cypress Creek—one of eight campuses—was 5,275.

ACC Cypress Creek is encouraging students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the Green Pass Program, which provides access to Capital Metro service at no additional cost. Last year, college trustees approved an agreement with Capital Metro to establish a bus stop at the campus that provides service from Lago Vista and Jonestown to the campus in Cedar Park. Using a green pass, ACC credits students, faculty and non-hourly staff can ride any Capital Metro bus or train for free.

"We are excited Cypress Creek Campus is now experiencing direct benefits from Green Pass," said Andy Kim, ACC's director of environmental stewardship. "Green Pass and the Cypress Creek stop are helping students get to class, easing parking congestion and reducing ACC's impact on the environment."

ACC owns approximately 100 acres of land near the Leander MetroRail station set aside for a future campus. Hanes said master planning efforts will help shape campus specifics —including programming and student capacity—and guide the timeline for the development of the campus.

The first day of ACC classes is Aug. 27. The fall semester at Concordia starts Aug. 22.