Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) has announced an all-time record enrollment for the fall semester. A total of 6,421 students have registered for classes, a 10.2 percent increase over fall 2009.
Other records have been shattered this fall at WITCC. Enrollment measured in credit hours achieved an all-time record at 60,666.5, surging past last year's total by 14.1 percent.
"More and more, students recognize that Western Iowa Tech is where you go to college if you want to realize your dreams," said Dr. Robert Dunker, WITCC president. "This massive increase in our numbers reflects a growing awareness that we offer unbeatable value when it comes to education, training and retraining. These are uncertain times and students want to make wise investments in their future. We provide the best of all worlds for people seeking competitive advantage in the marketplace."
Approximately half of all credit students are enrolled in career and technical programs. The other half are enrolled in arts and sciences programs and most of these are planning to transfer to a four-year college.
The number of area high school students enrolled at WITCC is 2,064; this is an increase of 5.6 percent over last year's headcount.
Dunker said that some of the most popular offerings are long established programs such as nursing, welding, automotive technology, and police science. However, newer programs such as wind energy, video game design and motorcycle/power sports technology have been instant successes.
While the majority of classes are taken in the daytime, 27 percent of credit hours are taken online. Enrollment in online courses increased 74.2 percent over fall 2009.
The college is becoming more ethnically and racially diverse. In self-reported student data, minority students represent 16.5 percent of fall enrollment compared with 12.7 percent last fall.
WITCC is also attracting more students from neighboring states. The number of students from South Dakota has increased by 18 percent over the previous year. The number of students from Nebraska has increased by 25 percent.
The average age of students increased from 23.8 to 24.02.
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 program innovations that directly address community needs as well as the college's investment in new technologies, such as a 3-D learning system and a state-of-the-art driving simulator.