While Salina Area Technical College has routinely set new fall enrollment records over the past several years, spring enrollment numbers have been quietly growing as well. For the spring 2023 semester, the college reached a record headcount of 1,055 students enrolled in a record 7,921 credit hours.
Those numbers represent a 22 percent increase in headcount compared to spring of 2022, and an 18 percent increase in the number of credit hours. In the past five years, headcount is up 58
percent, and the number of credit hours is up 50 percent.
“The growth is coming in a number of different ways,” said Salina Tech President Greg Nichols. “We have several newer programs, such as Fire Science and Police Science, that can accept new
students in the spring. But much of the growth is from our concurrent enrollment partnership with area high schools.”
In the current semester, 597 high school students are enrolled in 2,880 credit hours through the concurrent enrollment program, earning both high school and college credit by taking collegelevel classes such as General Psychology or College Algebra at their high school.
“These numbers are great, but our enrollment is only growing because our reputation is growing,” Nichols said. “For several years now, we’ve been at or near the top college in Kansas in measures such as graduation rates, job placement and overall student success.”
This past fall, the college’s nursing program was recognized by RegisteredNusring.org for having the highest first-time passing rate of any two-year college in Kansas on the NCLEX-RN national
nursing licensing exam. The only colleges with higher passing rates were four-year programs at Benedictine College, Baker University and the University of St. Mary.
Rapid growth brings new challenges, Nichols said. “We’re pretty much out of space on campus,” he said. “Our new student center opened in January, and that freed up some space for new employees – but what we also need is additional classroom and shop spaces.”
Salina Tech recently received a $1.8 million grant from the State of Kansas to pay for part of the cost of a new building to house a new Industrial Maintenance and Automation program, and
the college is working to raise additional funds to match that grant.