Following a Covid-related enrollment decline in the 2020-21 academic year, Salina Area Technical College has set another enrollment record.
According to data collected for the Kansas Board of Regents on the 20th day of fall classes, Salina Tech has 852 students, up from 697 at the same time in 2020 – a 22.2 percent increase.
In terms of full-time equivalents (FTEs), enrollment increased from 397 to 462, an increase of 16.4 percent. FTEs are calculated by dividing the total number of credit hours by 15.
But the 2020-21 school year saw enrollment declines for nearly every college and university, and Salina Tech President Greg Nichols said that over the summer as enrollment numbers came in, he was looking back two years, to the 2019-20 school year, to gauge the results.
Compared to two years ago, headcount at the college is up 7.7 percent, from 791 to 852, and credit hours are up 6.5 percent, from 6,541 credit hours to 6,970.
And compared to the fall of 2016, when the college earned its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, headcount is up 46.9 percent, from 580 to 852, and credit hours are up 25.9 percent, from 5,535 to 6,970.
Some of that recent growth has been from starting new programs, such as Practical Nursing and Associate Degree Nursing, but there are also now more students in long-standing programs across campus. Programs that might have had a handful of available slots in recent years were putting students on waitlists by mid-summer.
“We’re all very pleased with the numbers,” Nichols said. “But there are always challenges that come with growth – parking is becoming an issue, and we’re working to develop a plan to ensure campus facilities are used efficiently.”
Salina Tech gained ownership of its campus and buildings from the Salina School District this past summer, gaining additional parking in the process. Additional space was also gained by the summer demolition of Building G, which had housed the Diesel and Automotive Tech programs in the 1980s and 90s, but had been vacant for several years.