SEPTEMBER 11, 2017
WATERTOWN, SD – With almost 30% growth over the past five years, Lake Area Tech’s campus is at capacity. To continue to increase enrollment, Lake Area Tech is shifting strategies, adding spring and summer starts to balance the student population across the entire year.
Previous campus planning estimated Lake Area Tech would not be at the capacity it is today until the year 2043. So it is no surprise that Lake Area Tech’s most recent fall enrollment is on par with the 2016 fall semester. Additionally, this fall the Build Dakota Scholarship programs grew by 31 students overall and all of Lake Area Tech’s divisions increased in numbers with the exception of Agriculture and Healthcare. Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney explains, “We knew with the unprecedented growth over the past 13 years, we needed to change the paradigm of how we use our available space. Students we would normally start in the fall will be coming on campus in the spring and summer semesters as we move programming to better utilize available space.”
To address this predicted space shortage, Lake Area Tech has strategically developed a plan to utilize potential resources and unique educational delivery methods by expanding program enrollment in the spring semester, creating summer academies, developing additional online programs, Learn Where You Earn opportunities, and apprenticeships. Cartney continues, “We could foresee space being an issue and knew we had to start thinking out-of-the-box to continue to maintain enrollment and educate a much needed highly skilled workforce. We have pulled a group of people together to develop and implement a plan to address the space issues until we can build. We fully anticipate exceeding last year’s total enrollment this year, just with different timing.”
Lake Area Tech attributes its continued successful growth to several factors including the full-ride Build Dakota Scholarships, 98% placement rate after graduation, offering high demand degrees, and the growing popularity of online E-Degrees. Also, for being named the 2017 recipient of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence which nationally recognizes the learning outcomes, retention, degree completion, employment and earnings, and success for minority and low-income students.