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DL tech enrollment down from last year

Though enrollment at the Detroit Lakes campus of Minnesota State Community & Technical College was down slightly when classes began this past Tuesday, administrators felt those numbers would even out by this Wednesday.

"As of today, we have 659 students, which is down about 30 students from last year, overall," said Helene Hedlund, interim dean of student and academic services.

"Our anticipated enrollment for this year was 670, so we're down a little from what we anticipated, but we're pleased with the enrollment overall," Hedlund said.

"We're in the second year of a four-year plan to reach 1,000 students," she added.

Overall, enrollment at the four campuses of MSCTC -- which includes Moorhead, Fergus Falls and Wadena -- is up from 4,595 last year to 4,676 this year. This equates to a rise of about 7 percent.

Hedlund noted that one of the noticeable trends at Detroit Lakes thus far this year has been an increase in the number of part-time students. Though the actual numbers of full and part-time students have not yet been determined Hedlund said there was a difference between the number of students enrolled and the number of credits purchased, based on a 13-credit course load (which is considered full-time).

She attributed this to the fact that the college has begun offering a transferable associate of arts degree program for the first time, thus in effect allowing students to complete the first two years of a bachelor's degree in Detroit Lakes before transferring to a four-year, liberal arts college or university.

Also, a slight increase in tuition has made it more difficult to be a full-time student, as has the current high price of gasoline, Hedlund added.

A change in the governing board policy now requires students to finalize their financial arrangements (i.e., student loans) prior to Aug. 24, or have their registration dropped (they can re-register once financial arrangements have been finalized) has affected enrollment numbers as well.

Some more encouraging trends can be seen in some of the DL campus's new program offerings, however.

The new network security and paralegal AAS-degree programs that were started last year have "very healthy" enrollment, and Hedlund is also pleased with the enrollment numbers for the new administrative management technology program.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454