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Bismarck State College enrollments strong, several programs growing

Published: Sep 24 2019
Bismarck State College enrollments strong, several programs growing - Photo
Bismarck State College has maintained its position as the third largest college in the North Dakota University System with 3,739 students enrolled this fall.
“We’re excited about strong growth in areas like cybersecurity and health sciences, and we are confident that our strengths – affordability, transferrable classes and career-ready options will drive increases moving forward,” says BSC President Larry C. Skogen. “I’m also pleased that we’ve bucked the state and regional trends toward large declines. We’re down only seven full time students and 32 part-time students overall.”
The college also reports a 7% increase in students transferring in from other institutions. North Dakota enrollments are the highest they’ve been in the past three years -- increasing .4% from 3,102 to 3,114.
The college saw significant growth in a number of programs over last year, including: “We had a slight downtick in students who take their generals here before transferring on (down 4% or 42 students), but our incoming students tell us that the message of affordability and small class sizes resonates for them. Avoiding college debt is very high priority for traditional students. We expect our transfer student numbers to rise as the number of high school graduates in the region increases,” says BSC Dean of Enrollment Management Karen Erickson.
Block classes and enrollment
While the North Dakota University System uses the 4th week enrollment number as an official count, BSC sees students come and go throughout the semester due to more than 50 start dates offered for block classes.
“In order to serve our many incumbent workers – especially in the energy industry – we have 50+ start dates for students,” says BSC Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Leingang. “While we’re required to submit 4th week numbers as the official census date for the system, at BSC we see continuous enrollment across the entire semester, so for us, census date doesn’t tell the whole picture. Students move in and out of BSC all semester long.”
According to Leingang, BSC offers dozens of block style course options for those working full time in order to ensure they can complete their degrees. “Our block style courses allow them to take one to two classes at a time, then move on to the next courses in their degree. It helps us better serve our working students in these industry programs, and we’ll be expanding this as we move into the polytechnic model.”