By Matthew Liedke
The incline for enrollment at North Dakota State College of Science is trending upward as the school surpassed 3,000 students for a fourth consecutive year in the fall semester.
According to a press release from the college, NDSCS has enrolled 1,706 full-time students and 1,327 part time students. Further breaking down the numbers, NDSCS has enrolled 2,016 freshmen and 1,017 sophomores, 465 of those students are 25 years old and older and 298 of those students attend the Fargo campus.
“What it says about the college is that there’s a real recognition in the value in the need for the type of education that we provide here at NDSCS,” said Harvey Link, vice president of academic and student affairs.
“I think over the last few years we’ve seen a significant increase in the type of employment opportunities that are available,” Link said. “Business and industry are requesting education for those opportunities, and students are recognizing it and finding their way here.”
In total, the fall 2014 enrollment was 3,033, which had a slight dip from 2013 where 3,168 students had enrolled. NDSCS officials explained that this was mainly due to a drop in the amount of North Dakota high school graduates in 2014.
The number is still high for the college, though, and Executive Director of College Relations and Marketing Barbara Spaeth-Baum explained that the enrollment comes from a multitude of reasons.
“It’s a combination of things. This is a concerted effort by the college to raise awareness of the need for the type of education that we provide,” Spaeth-Baum said. “We have the one side with the advertising we do, but we also have that public relations aspect and that word of mouth that is so viable in the state of North Dakota.
“We have a lot of legislators who understand our message and who are telling our message,” Spaeth-Baum added.
“NDSCS also has a regional reach,” Link explained. “We reach those in Minnesota and in South Dakota. Many students who attend NDSCS go on to get their first job or continue their education in North Dakota, so we are able to bring talented individuals into the state, train them and put them in a good job.”
Another positive from this semester’s enrollment support is the number of students retained, which has risen from the previous year.
“The new Student Success Division, which is a program that helps retain students by providing services and resources when they need it the most and we’re already seeing that it has massed a difference with our retention from years prior,” Spaeth Baum said.
As the state of North Dakota continues to grow and the population increases, Link said the enrollment numbers in turn would most likely go up, however, he said that the impact of state growth won’t happen immediately.
“Growth in North Dakota, in relation to the number of high school grads, won’t happen over night,” Link said. “The number of high school grads will decline for a few years and then it’s going to slowly go up.”
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