Enrollment at Salina Area Technical College rose 27% in the fall of 2018 compared to the previous fall, according to information collected on September 20th for reporting to the Kansas Board of Regents.
According to the enrollment data, Salina Tech had a total of 435 Full Time Equivalent students, compared with 342 at this time in 2017.
FTE is calculated by taking the total number of students enrolled and dividing by 15 credit hours, which is considered a full-time class load.
In the past, the Kansas Board of Regents has relied on “headcount,” which is the total number of students enrolled, but switched to using the FTE method starting this fall.
Under the previous “headcount” method, Salina Tech’s enrollment jumped from 598 to 787 – an increase of 31%.
“With unemployment at about 3 percent in Saline County, and companies struggling to find the people they need, it’s kind of novel for our enrollment to be increasing this much,” said Salina Tech President Greg Nichols. He explained that typically, college enrollment grows when the economy is down.
Roughly half of the increase can be attributed to several new programs starting at Salina Tech this fall; the new Practical Nursing program has 31 students each taking 17 credit hours of classes, which counts for 35 FTE. The new Police Science program has 6 students, for a total of 3.2 FTE.
Several of the college’s more traditional technical programs also saw double-digit FTE growth, including:
- Automotive Technology: 18%
- Business Administrative Technology: 28%
- Computer Aided Drafting: 33%
- Construction Technology: 34%
- Welding Technology: 17%
Another area of growth is in the number of high school students taking college-level classes such as English 101, College Algebra or General Psychology at their high school.
These “concurrent enrollment” classes allow juniors and seniors to earn college credits that will transfer to most other colleges in Kansas and across the country while earning credit towards high school graduation at the same time, and for far less cost.
Concurrent enrollment across the 11 school districts participating in Salina Tech’s concurrent program doubled in the past year, with 297 students enrolled in 1,332 credit-hours, or 88.8 FTE.