South Dakota technical institutes see rise in enrollment

KELOLAND.com Original

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Overall, enrollment into South Dakota Technical Institutes is up 4.3%. The South Dakota Board of Technical Education sent out a news release detailing the fall enrollment numbers at Lake Area Technical Institute, Mitchell Technical Institute, Southeast Technical Institute and Western Dakota Tech. 6,825 students attended one of those schools in 2018, this year 7,122 are attending.

On the other hand, the full-time equivalent for the tech schools is down by .1%, which averages out to seven students.

LATI and MTI saw a decrease in headcount and full-time equivalent.
STI and WDT saw an increase in headcount and full-time equivalent.

Later today, we’ll talk to the South Dakota Board of Technical Education Executive Director to further understand why we’re seeing an increase in attendance at technical schools.

“Two year public colleges have seen pretty drastic enrollment decline, and so, to have steady enrollment among full-time equivalent numbers is a positive for the state of South Dakota, but we’re continuing to explore ways to bring more people into the system and enroll more students,” Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Technical Education, Nick Wendell, said.

Wendell says to continue to grow the enrollment numbers, four-year colleges and two-year technical institutes are looking into more articulation agreements. The post-secondary schools already have some in place, but are looking at expanding ways for students to be able to transfer credits between the two types of schools.

“Articulation agreements between systems create more graduates, create more potential workers, it’s good for everybody. So, that’s another way we think our two systems could be connected and another way that we’re all working together and exploring ways to create a pathway for folks to be enrolled in post-secondary education of any kind in the state of South Dakota,” Wendell said.

Wendell also says he expects these numbers to increase.

“An enrollment report can give you a really good snapshot on the day that you collect that data and release that report, but in the world of post-secondary education, in particular, in technical education, in the two-year environment, lots of students will start with us in the spring term, others will start in the summer term. So, we anticipate that, that headcount and that FTE number will evolve throughout the year,” Wendell said.

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