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BSC sees growth and opportunity in Spring enrollments | Bismarck State College

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BSC sees growth and opportunity in Spring enrollments

Published: Mar 01 2021
Bismarck State College saw a slight drop in enrollment from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021 – going from 3,526 to 3,468 students (-1.64%). The Fall to Spring retention rate was consistent (-0.9%), and BSC remains the third largest institution in the North Dakota University System with strong enrollment a year into the COVID pandemic.

“Given the challenges of this past year, declines were expected. That they were minimal shows the strength of our students and our programs. I believe these numbers are more of a testament to our students’ perseverance then they are a cause for concern,” says BSC President Doug Jensen.

Jensen attributes some of the retention success to BSC’s focus on offering face-to-face classes throughout the academic year.

“Our students told us they wanted an in-classroom experience and we did all we could to safely offer that to them. With masks, social distancing, and additional technology in the classrooms we ensured students could be in class as they were able and stay engaged if they needed to quarantine. We believe our in-person focus helped to retain our students and helped them succeed.”

The college, North Dakota’s only polytechnic institution, saw enrollment increases in several programs this spring, particularly those in high priority occupations like healthcare and cybersecurity.
  • Associate Degree Nursing up 20%
  • Practical Nursing up 22%
  • Medical Laboratory Technician up 23%
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) up 64%
  • Cybersecurity AAS up 66%
  • Cybersecurity BAS up 13%
 
BSC also saw an increase in adult and part-time student populations – a trend that brings the college closer to what is seen nationally for community colleges. For the first time, BSC’s part-time student population (1,809) is larger than its full-time (1,659). Part-time enrollment increased by 2.73% (+48) this spring; and the college added 69 students age 25 and older.

“As a polytechnic, BSC is uniquely designed to meet the needs of these changing demographics. Certifications and flexible pathways mean part-time students and those juggling families, work and college have more opportunities to complete degrees on their time, at their pace,” Jensen noted.

“While national headlines tell us colleges and universities across the country have seen plummeting enrollments, we held our own by keeping our focus on students’ success, and I’m very optimistic about Summer and Fall.”

BSC Spring 2021 enrollment breakdown:
  • Student headcount: 3,468
  • FT headcount: 1659
  • PT headcount: 1809
  • Male students: 1915
  • Female students: 1553