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Enrollment up at MSCTC-DL

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Enrollment up at MSCTC-DL
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The signs are everywhere -- from a new Student Life Center and adjacent bookstore (called The Book Mark) to expanded online course offerings and the unveiling of its Business & Entrepreneurial Services program.


Over the past couple of years, the Detroit Lakes campus of Minnesota State Community & Technical College (MSCTC) has been undergoing an evolution -- and it's beginning to pay big dividends this fall.

Enrollment at the college for the fall 2008 semester is up by more than 200 students -- 203, to be exact -- from this time last year, according to Dale Westley, enrollment manager and marketing director for MSCTC.

"We have 843 students registered here (in Detroit Lakes) as of today (Friday)," said Westley, noting that this number also includes those registered for online courses through the DL campus.

Measured in registered FTE (full time equivalency) credits -- the numbers used to calculate the campus budget -- the increase is just as impressive.

"Our campus goal was to reach 434 FTE -- we surpassed that on July 28th," Westley said. "So we re-established that goal at 519 -- and we surpassed that too. We ended up with 547.53 FTE -- 108 percent of our goal -- on the final day (of registration)."

According to Helene Hedlund, dean of academic and student affairs for MSCTC, it's no accident.

"We have been deliberate in changing our recruiting strategies to build enrollment," she said.

One of those strategies has involved reaching articulation agreements with Mayville State University in North Dakota and Southwest State University in Minnesota that will allow students to complete their associate of arts (A.A.) degree at MSCTC. Then, through courses taken via interactive television, distance learning or on-site instruction -- depending upon program enrollment -- they can complete the last two years of their four-year bachelor's degree from either of those colleges at the Detroit Lakes campus.

MSCTC-DL has also partnered with the recently-accredited White Earth Tribal College to offer an AA degree program in social work, and another with a focus on American Indian culture.

In addition, Hedlund said, "The courses we deliver in our A.A. program are transferable (to any college) within the MnSCU (Minnesota State Colleges & Universities) system."

Because of this, the college has seen a large influx of liberal arts students.

"The tuition is more affordable, and the (credit) transfer is the same as if they went to a four-year college," Hedlund said.

And with full-time instructors for math, biology and English now available on-campus, "we are ready to expand our A.A. offerings and explore additional specialty options," she added.

The Business & Entrepreneurial Services (B.E.S.) program, which was established at MSCTC-DL one year ago, has also seen impressive growth, Hedlund noted, "through a dedicated board of directors that is working on business plan competitions, incubator space for new businesses and K-12 educational activities that allow students to explore entrepreneurialism prior to making long-term career choices."

The college's new two-year business entrepreneur program, which began this fall, has an enrollment of about 17 students, Hedlund added.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 15 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454