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Enrollment up at DL tech college

Though the enrollment news is good overall for the 32 schools in the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MnSCU) system, it's especially good for the Detroit Lakes campus of Minnesota State Community & Technical College.

The DL campus' most recent fall enrollment figures show a total of 669 students, an 8 percent increase as compared to enrollment at the same time last year (619 students), according to campus enrollment manager Dale Westley.

Enrollment for MSCTC as a whole is also up, from 5,237 in fall 2005 to 5,843 in fall 2006, an increase of 11.6 percent.

Though initial enrollment figures taken in August showed a slight decrease, Westley said, those figures did not take into account the fact that the DL campus has a high percentage of post-secondary enrollment option (i.e., high school) students. Because the public school year does not start until after Labor Day, those students don't typically enroll at MSCTC until several weeks after the college's school year has officially started.

"We're very pleased with the (enrollment) numbers, both college-wide and on this campus," Westley said. "We're in the third year of a five-year plan to increase our enrollment to 1,000 students (at MSCTC-DL)," he added. "We can always grow some of our programs a little more, but... the numbers look pretty good."

The number of students taking online courses at MSCTC has accounted for at least some of this increase, Westley noted.

"We have a lot of requests for online courses," he said. "That part of the college continues to grow -- but we're growing it slowly, to meet demand.

"We're constantly looking for new things to offer -- we just added an online version of our radiology program, for the spring semester (which starts Jan. 10)."

In the 32 colleges and universities that comprise the MnSCU system, enrollment was up 1.3 percent overall. This reflects an increase for 17 colleges and four state universities, and a decrease at nine colleges and three state universities. Overall, enrollment was up an average of 2.4 percent at the community and technical colleges, and down about 0.6 percent at the seven state universities. Enrollment in all 32 colleges and universities is at 173,016, a jump of 2,262 students from figures released at the same time last year.

The full-year equivalent enrollment in credits -- calculated by adding credits taken by all students and dividing by the number of credits considered to be a full-time courseload, or about 30 credits per year for undergraduates and 20 credits for graduate students -- is projected to increase 0.6 percent for the current year over all 32 schools.

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.

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