Enrollment at Salina Area Technical College is up 11 percent in the fall of 2016 compared to the previous fall, according to data collected on the 20th day of classes for the Kansas Board of Regents.
That 11 percent increase is the largest percentage increase among the state’s universities, community colleges and technical colleges.
A total of 580 students were enrolled at Salina Tech, compared to 522 the previous September.
The total number of credit hours being taken is up 12.5 percent compared to the fall of 2015, with students taking 5,942 hours, compared to 5,279 this time last year.
“Our secret is out,” said Salina Tech President Greg Nichols. “We’re trying to expand programs that are in high need in this region, and help people into those careers. People are realizing that we’re providing a valuable, high-quality education.”
The number of high school students taking summer courses more than doubled, from 17 in 2015 to 39 this past summer; most of those students were in the Certified Nurse Aide program.
“It took a couple of years, but word is getting out that high-school students can take summer classes here under Senate Bill 155,” said Salina Tech Registrar Denise Hoeffner, referring to an Kansas law that went into effect in 2012 allowing high school students to enroll in technical courses at the state’s technical and community colleges, with the state paying for their tuition.
This fall 183 high school students are attending Salina Tech for part of the school day, while also taking classes at their high school. That number is down 2 from 185 in the fall of 2015.
Of the 663 new credit hours, 417 are because Salina Tech is for the first time this fall offering general education classes at both Ell-Saline and Southeast of Saline high schools, through its concurrent enrollment program.
At those two schools, a total of 88 students are taking college-level classes such as English composition, public speaking and psychology, which will count for both high school credits and three hours of college credit. Concurrent enrollment programs are open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, along with “gifted” freshmen.
Tuition for these concurrent courses cost $79 per credit hour, and the credits will transfer to any state technical college, community college or university in Kansas. Hoeffner said several students at both high schools are taking nine hours of college classes this semester.
Salina Tech was founded in 1965, and now has 15 full-time programs in which students can pursue either a Technical Certificate or an Associate of Applied Science degree. It also offers numerous short-term classes throughout the year. The New York-based Aspen Institute has ranked Salina Tech in the top 10 percent of community colleges nationwide four consecutive times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked the college ninth in the nation among two-year colleges based on its graduation rate.
Story from Mike Strand / Salina Area Technical College