PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota’s technical colleges are holding steady with their enrollment numbers despite a national trend of other two-year colleges seeing a decrease in enrollment numbers.
According to a report presented to the state Board of Technical Education during a meeting Thursday, Oct. 8, the system saw a growth of 55 students and had an enrollment of 7,177 students in fall of 2020.
Some educators are worried that enrollment numbers will see a drop due to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Michael Cartney, president of Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, said recruitment due to the pandemic has been a challenge.
“It’s been very difficult to get into high schools and do that recruiting," Cartney said. "We tried the virtual approach. I think everybody across the board has seen really low numbers on student engagement in a virtual environment."
Robert Griggs, president of Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls, said he’s concerned for enrollment numbers for next year.
“Frankly the concern I'm hearing is more for next year which is causing all our campuses to take a hard look at different approaches as far as campus tours,” Griggs said. “Once students get out on each of our campuses to see our facilities and programs we have, they get excited about that. We're certainly working hard to recruit them and maintain that interest, but getting them onsite is a huge positive force.”