College achieves 15 years of consecutive enrollment growth.
For Immediate Release
SEPTEMBER 10, 2018 WATERTOWN, SD…
Lake Area Tech’s campus is bustling with excitement as the college has officially verified record enrollment for the for the 2018 fall semester. The college has experienced an upward growth pattern for the past fifteen consecutive years, and continues that trend with 2245 enrolled today, up 190 students from fall 2017 for an overall 9.2% increase. Excluding high school students taking dual credit, unduplicated head count is up 5% over last year.
The overall increase is driven by a strong return of upperclassmen, several programs achieving full enrollment, and an increase in online E-Degree seeking and Dual Status students. More specifically, Lake Area Tech is seeing a large surge in the health, manufacturing, and computer divisions.
College officials have been monitoring this growth, and are comfortable they will exceed 2500 students this year. Previous campus planning estimated Lake Area Tech would not be at the population it is today until the year 2043. With the continued significant growth of the student body, the current campus plan has been put in full motion to address space needs, including construction on much needed additional classrooms and lab space. The first expansion project will be the Prairie Lakes Healthcare Center of Learning in which construction is slated to begin spring of 2019.
Lake Area Tech Director of Student Services, Marketing and Public Relations, LuAnn Strait comments, “With the continued growth we’ve experienced, Lake Area Tech accomplished something few colleges nationally can say they have ever experienced. Although we’ve had the Presidential visit, won the Aspen Prize and have accomplished a million dollar match with Build Dakota, it is our staff’s commitment to workforce development and our connection with our students that leads to our record setting growth.” Strait continues, “Although all of this is important, we know to a greater extent that the outcomes of our students speak the loudest. Because of that, we continue to make every effort to be the college that provides a caring culture for students, hires the best staff, strong regional and industry support, and gives students the skills they need to be successful.”
Lake Area Tech’s details tell the story, including 99% placement rate after graduation, the creative delivery of education, strong industry partnerships, robust retention, high demand degrees, and a record $2.6 million in Build Dakota Scholarships awarded this fall to new students making Lake Area Tech a workforce development leader in South Dakota.
Lake Area Tech was named the 2017 recipient of the National Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence which recognizes the outstanding learning outcomes, retention, degree completion, employment and earnings, and success for minority and low-income students.