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BSC breaks seven-year enrollment record; up 20 percent over last spring

Published: Feb 16 2023
BSC breaks seven-year enrollment record; up 20 percent over last spring - Photo
Bismarck State College saw a 6.2% increase in students for the Fall 2022 semester and now a 20.19% increase for the Spring 2023 semester, breaking an academic year enrollment record from seven years ago. This spring 3,941 students are enrolled at BSC.
BSC is at the top of other enrollment charts as well. The 20% enrollment growth is the highest in the North Dakota University System (NDUS) this spring and for the first time in more than 10 years, BSC has more students enrolled in the spring semester than the fall semester of the same academic year.
“This certainly goes against the enrollment trends we are seeing in higher education, both in North Dakota and across the country,” says BSC President Doug Jensen. “I believe this is the result of both an increased need for a skilled workforce and the way our polytechnic model offers career pathways and flexible education options.”
The polytechnic education model at BSC is unique to this region. It provides multiple, flexible start dates that allow students to begin their education when it works best for them rather than following a traditional academic calendar. This gives students more flexibility to tailor their education to meet their educational and career goals.
BSC also saw a 108% increase in dual credit enrollment – high school students enrolling in college courses and receiving both high school and college credit simultaneously. This semester, high school students are taking anywhere from three to 12 college credits at the discounted dual credit tuition rate and 41 are considered full-time BSC students with 12 or more credits.
“Dual credit fits perfectly within our unique polytechnic education model and offers students flexibility and opportunity. It is very possible for these 41 dual credit students taking a full college course load, to graduate with their associate degree from BSC at the same time that they graduate from high school if they continue on this path,” says BSC Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Leingang. “This not only saves them time and money, it also puts them further ahead when they enter college and closer to meeting their career goal.”
The five programs seeing the highest enrollment growth include Medical Laboratory Technician (45%), Electric Power Technology (41.75%), Agriculture Industry and Technology (34.29%), Cybersecurity & Computer Networks (22.13%) and Surgical Technology (24%).
Looking ahead, BSC anticipates enrollment will keep increasing as the polytechnic institution continues to add new academic programs in high-demand fields such as agriculture, cybersecurity, energy, health sciences, manufacturing and automation, and multiple others.
To facilitate the growth in these programs and build industry workforce, BSC broke ground in November 2022 on the region’s only, state-of-the-art, polytechnic education center and has also developed the BSC In-Demand Careers Scholarship to remove financial barriers for individuals pursuing an education that prepares them for an in-demand career. The scholarship offers free tuition, fees and textbooks for students enrolling in classes by June 30, 2023, in a qualifying in-demand career program and is supported with American Rescue Plan Act funds distributed by the ND Department of Commerce.
“The more students we enroll in programs, the more we graduate and the more we fill workforce needs. It’s a win for our students and it’s also a win for economic, community and workforce development,” Jensen says.
For more information about Bismarck State College visit To learn more about the BSC In-Demand Careers Scholarship visit