Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) has announced an all-time record enrollment for the fall semester. A total of 5,829 students have registered for classes, a 7.5 percent increase over fall 2008.
Other records have been shattered this fall at WITCC, whose main campus is in Sioux City. Enrollment measured in credit hours achieved an all-time record at 53,195, surging past last year's total by 13.7 percent. Out-of-state enrollments have risen above 600 for the first time in the history of the college, numbering 669 or more than 11 percent of WITCC's total enrollment.
Full-time students were up significantly from last year, from 2,095 to 2,534 this fall semester, an increase of 21 percent.
"This massive increase in our numbers reflects a growing awareness that we offer unbeatable value when it comes to education, training and retraining," said Dr. Robert Dunker, WITCC President. "These are uncertain times and students want to make wise investments in their future. Now, more than ever, we provide the best of all worlds for people seeking competitive advantage in the marketplace."
WITCC has also experienced dramatic increases in enrollment in several of its career and technical programs due to higher demand for retraining in fields in which employment is booming. Heating and air conditioning is up 103 percent over last year, engineering programs are up a combined 82 percent, and computer programming is up 74 percent.
Recent high school graduates at WITCC jumped above 500 for the first time in several years.
"Along with enrollment numbers rising, we continue to see more people utilizing our Conference Center in Cherokee for small-group and large-group gatherings, complete with our full catering services through Hy-Vee, from casual luncheons to full-scale, formal dinners with wonderful food choices, linens, fine china, and the whole works.
"We also will continue to pursue and fulfill all the needs of this community and our entire service area when it comes to furthering their education and training them in their choice of career. We're always here to answer any questions and to help potential students of any age get pointed in the right direction. That's our mission and one we take very seriously."
Dr. Terry Murrell, the college's vice president for instruction and student services, attributed much of the growth to the college's heightened efforts in recent years to significantly enhance student life and activities. These include the introduction of homecoming activities, new student residence halls, and a vast array of clubs and other intramural opportunities.
Murrell also cited as a force underlying the enrollment boom several program innovations that directly address community needs. This semester the college introduced associate degrees in wind energy technology and in paralegal studies in response to a growing demand for trained professionals in these areas.