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Record enrollment at M-State in Detroit Lakes

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Enrollment at the Detroit Lakes campus of Minnesota State Community & Technical College (M-State) has reached a new milestone for the fall semester, with over 1,000 students.

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A total of 1,013 students were enrolled at M-State as of Tuesday, said Dale Westley, enrollment manager for the college.

"We've reached that five-year plateau, which we're pretty excited about," he added.

The total includes 709 full and part-time students attending classes at the DL campus, and another 355 enrolled in online classes taught by DL instructors. It also includes 14 students enrolled in the carpentry program at DL's satellite campus in White Earth, Westley said.

The reason why this milestone is significant, Westley added, is because "we reached a goal that was put in place five years ago."

That goal was to reach a full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment of 585 by fall 2009.

Currently, the DL campus has an FTE enrollment of 649 -- a jump of more than 100 since fall 2006, when FTE enrollment was at 536.

Last year, the Detroit Lakes campus was challenged by M-State President Ann Valentine to increase its enrollment, first by five percent, and later by another 10 percent (15 percent total). The campus met both challenges -- and in fact, exceeded them.

"We exceeded last year's enrollment by 20 percent," Westley said.

Since 2007, enrollment has actually jumped a whopping 63 percent, he added.

"We've worked hard toward getting to that point," he said. "Our programs are mostly full ... automotive, auto body, power sports and radiology programs -- all full."

Online programs including web development, paralegal and radiology (which can also be taken on-site) have proven very popular, Westley continued.

"The highest number of students we have are in general education," he said.

Students can take their general education credits at the local campus, then transfer to a four-year college such as Southwest State University in Minnesota or Mayville State University in North Dakota to complete their bachelor's degrees. Both Mayville and SSU have articulation agreements with M-State, Westley noted, though the credits may be transferred to other colleges as well.

Because M-State's programs are in such high demand, he added, students looking to take specific programs next year should be looking at early enrollment.

"Otherwise you may have to select a different major, or wait a year to get in," he cautioned.

The campus has achieved its enrollment goals through "a nice mix of programs," as well as community outreach programs like Business and Entrepreneurial Services and its Speaker Series, Westley said.

Civil engineering is "a unique program at DL that's not offered anywhere else in the area," he added.

M-State also has higher than ever numbers of high school students taking post-secondary enrollment option classes, to earn credits toward college while still in high school.

The fall semester at M-State's DL campus officially kicks off Thursday -- Friendship Day -- with a free barbecue for students, beginning at noon.

For more information, call Westley at 218-846-3777, or visit the web site at www.minnesota.edu.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 14 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 844-1454
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