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NTC enrollment increases in 2018: Total of 1,021 students enrolled at Bemidji technical college this fall

BEMIDJI—Enrollment at Northwest Technical College is up this year for the first time in a while.

Darrin StrosahlCollege staff announced on Tuesday that 1,021 students are taking at least one class there this fall, about a 10 percent increase over last year.

And the aggregate number of students there—the "full-year equivalent" figure—rose by about 7.5 percent, according to college staff. That means more students are taking more classes at the technical college.

"I think it's a reflection of people recognizing the value of technical education right now," said Darrin Strosahl, the technical college's vice president of academic affairs. "That technical education is really the way to get not just a job, but get a better job."

The enrollment bump is the apparent result of several relatively small increases across the board at the technical college: a new section of electrical construction programming meant 16 more students, for instance; the college retained 22 more students this year than the year before, staff said; and a new commercial refrigeration program there has attracted a handful of students, too.

The college's headcount trended downward since 2013, when it had about 1,200 students enrolled, and the rise in enrollment there is the first since 2015.

Likewise, this year is the first since 2013 where the aggregate number of full-time NTC students has gone up. The college added the equivalent of 40.3 full-time students this year, bringing its total to 579.3, staff reported.

Leaders there hope to pump that figure up to 800 by 2023, and the figures from this year indicate that they're nearly on pace to meet that goal.

Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education (mostly K-12) and American Indian affairs for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He's from Minneapolis, earned a degree from the College of St. Benedict - St. John's University in 2009, and worked at the Perham Focus near Detroit Lakes and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis before heading to the Pioneer.

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