Campus News

  • Malvern, AR -- College of the Ouachitas (COTO) reported today higher fall enrollment compared to the previous year. For Fall 2013, the College realized a 6.1 percent increase with 1,498 students enrolled. Full-time equivalent enrollment (total number of course credits enrolled divided by 15 – the number of credits per semester considered as full-time) is up 5.1 percent at 897.7. The College received national recognition this week regarding its significant enrollment increase in the most recent edition of the Community College Times.  Read the story at

    Of the 22 two-year colleges in Arkansas, only six experienced an increase in enrollment from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013.  College of the Ouachitas had the greatest increase; the next highest increase in the state for two-year colleges was less than half of COTO’s increase at 3.0 percent by Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas in eastern Arkansas. 
    College of the Ouachitas President, Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, credits the enrollment increase to several factors. “As a Top Ten Community College in the nation, College of the Ouachitas is being recognized as a premiere institution of higher education.  People see an increase in the value of an education from us.”

    Schoonmaker continued, “The College is making strong efforts to provide community awareness regarding what the College we have to offer. Additionally, the College is developing new innovative programs relevant to our local communities.” Since Schoonmaker took over the reins at COTO 21 months ago, Schoonmaker has met with businesses and industries in the region to find out what they need for their workforces. As a result of these conversations, the College started a new mechatronics program, as well as pre-engineering offerings for high school students. Both programs, and COTO’s new Honors College, have attracted new students.

    Vice President of Student Affairs Donna Hill remarked, “Over the past 18 months, we've focused on getting students involved as soon as they step on campus, since we know they're more likely to succeed if they feel like they belong. With a new 45-minute break in the schedule, students can take part in activities, visit with staff and faculty, or just hang out with each other. We've added new clubs and organizations, and we're going out into the community to connect with students before they ever step foot on campus.”
    Hill affirmed, “The word is spreading that we care about our students.  One of our recruiters has often said that COTO is the best-kept secret in central Arkansas. I think the secret has finally gotten out.”

  • Malvern, AR – College of the Ouachitas recently received more than $1.8 million to expand education and career training programs for the high-skill fields of advanced manufacturing and transportation.  The announcement was made on Thursday by U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and the funding comes from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCT) Grant Program, which was authorized by the stimulus bill.

    Mr. Ruben Keisler, COTO Dean of Career and Technical Education, stated, “I am grateful that the College will receive these funds from the Department of Labor allowing us to train our area workforce in advanced areas of manufacturing and distribution to fit our current and future needs of industry.”

    “College of the Ouachitas is very appreciative of this funding from the U.S. Department of Labor that will address the workforce needs in both Advanced Manufacturing and Transportation.  As a result of this funding, the College will be developing two new programs, Industrial and Nano Robotics, as well as Machining and Fabrication,” remarked Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, President of College of the Ouachitas.  “These programs will produce Machinists, Electro-Mechanical Technicians, among others – all of which have been identified by the Arkansas Economic Developers as an immediate need in the state.”

    Dr. Schoonmaker continued, “In addition, the grant can enable the College to build and equip a mobile truck driving simulation lab, thus producing a much-needed truck driving workforce that is also experiencing a shortage, according to the Arkansas Economic Developers.  These advancements are vital to the economic development of our local communities and region.”

    The Southwest Arkansas Community College Consortium will receive a total of $8,419,390 to help address gaps in services currently provided to businesses, create systems to ensure quick responses to business needs, and establish new regional collaborations.  The schools receiving funding are as follows:

    College of the Ouachitas, Malvern: $1,801,912
    Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas, DeQueen: $450,000
    National Park Community College, Hot Springs: $1,003,800
    Rich Mountain Community College, Mena: $300,000
    South Arkansas Community College, El Dorado: $3,904,256
    Southern Arkansas University Tech, Camden: $417,800
    University of Arkansas Community College at Hope: $541,622

    “If we want to stay competitive in today’s global economy, we need to equip our students with the needed skills, degrees, and training,” Pryor said.  “Thanks to this funding, our community colleges now have the resources they need to help their students obtain high-wage, high-skill jobs in our nation’s fastest-growing industries. This is a win-win for Arkansas students and businesses.”

  • The last day to charge books to your Financial Aid is Monday, September 9th

    Financial Aid refunds will be disbursed Friday, September 20th. Refund checks will be available after 9 a.m. at the Business Office windows. Students must have their Student ID and Driver’s License.

  • Want to learn something new?
    Join one of these evening Community Education classes at College of the Ouachitas!

    2 hours/1 night per week/4 weeks
    Cake Decorating Basics - $40
    Beginning/Intro to Golf - $60

    2 hours/2nights per week/4 weeks
    Computer Basics - $80
    Welding Basics - $150

    1 hour/1 night per week/4weeks
    Line Dancing - $40

    3 hours/1 night/1 week
    Google Apps - $75

    1 hour/1night/4 weeks
    Barre None Exercise Class - $50

    Call Mary Ann Harper for more information at 501-332-0208!

  • Free Tutoring Services available in the COTO Library Mon-Thurs 8:00-4:30 ALL Subjects. Visit the COTO Library for more information or to schedule an appointment.

  • ATTENTION STUDENTS: Arrangements for payments, payment plans or financial aid must be made by 4:30pm on Friday, August 30. 

  • Normal parking will resume Monday, 26 August. Please observe all posted parking signs. If the main front lots are full, don’t forget that we have additional parking along the sides and back of the main building complex. 

  • All College of the Ouachitas offices will be closing at NOON on Friday, August 23rd, for a campus wide meeting. 

  • In an effort to relieve some of the “first week of class” confusion, College of the Ouachitas is trying something new.  Selected areas that are normally designated as Faculty/Staff Parking will be temporarily open to students. 

    As students arrive on campus Monday morning, they will be greeted by members of administration, faculty, and staff who will be acting as parking attendants.  COTO asks that everyone abide by the directions of these parking attendants so that traffic will flow smoothly and no one is late for class.

    Signs have been temporarily covered, once they are uncovered normal parking will resume.

    Follow this link to a map showing all available parking spaces on campus.

  • Don't forget to get your ID Card made for Fall Semester. It is FREE until August 30 in the Library/Learning Resource Center. You must have your fall schedule to get your card.