Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

October 7, 2010

SKC reports high enrollment numbers

By Lailani Upham

The fresh faces listen during new student orientation. SKC is one of many colleges that have seen an increase of new students who have returned to education due to the souring economy. (photo courtesy Juan Perez)
The fresh faces listen during new student orientation. SKC is one of many colleges that have seen an increase of new students who have returned to education due to the souring economy. (photo courtesy Juan Perez)

PABLO — Salish Kootenai College set an all-time new student enrollment this fall with over 350 new students, according to SKC Registrar Elaine Frank.

SKC’s enrollment for Fall 2010 is at 1,070 students, according to SKC enrollment data.

“We have had to add more sections in some of the English composition and college algebra classes,” said Acting Vice President Carmen Taylor last week during the first week of Fall classes.

With faculty and staff adjusting to a little shuffling around to add more sections and add more room for students, college officials are finding the issue an exciting one. “The parking lots are full, housing is full with a waiting list; but it’s a good problem. We’re excited,” Taylor added.

According to Taylor, the high rise in new enrollment this year may be attributed to the economy. Colleges and universities in Montana and across the U.S. are also experiencing record high enrollments, Taylor said.

Last month the University of Montana announced a record-high enrollment of 15,642 students up by 721 additional new students, according to the Missoulian.

Enrollment at the Montana State University - Bozeman rose by nearly 800 students this fall, according to a recent article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

All schools have reported the major factor in the increased enrollment is due to the recession.

SKC’s new student enrollment is not the typical young teens right out of high school, but a high range in ages, Taylor said. Many are young, old, transfers from other tribal colleges and some close to retirement age, she said. The older students may be looking to find a trade due to a recent lay-offs in the past couple years as well, Taylor speculates.

Mike Dolson, Native Studies Department Director and advisor says, the challenge he sees in the “good” problem is finding instructors for the added class sections and many of the classes are pushed for room. Another perplexity in the given situation Dolson notices is that students are finding time conflicts with class schedules because they can not get into the classes required and must wait to take the course and choose an alternate course.

Despite the dynamics of fitting in more new students, Dolson said, “It’s always good to see students.”

SKC came a long way in the past 30 years; the college began as a branch campus of Flathead Valley Community College, and then broke ties four years later to launch independently as a tribal college and offer three degree and four certificate programs in the early 1980s.

SKC now offers 25 degree programs and five certifications of completion.

About Salish Kootenai College
Salish Kootenai College is a tribally controlled college chartered in 1977 by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The College is located in the heart of the Flathead Indian Reservation.

The College received initial accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities in 1984; accreditation was last reaffirmed in 2003.

For more information visit the website at: www.skc.edu; or call (406) 675-4800.

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