Sierra College enrollment grows steadily
One can learn something new everyday, and from the looks of enrollment numbers at the Sierra College Truckee campus, local students are hungry for a slice of knowledge pie.”We have been growing about 2 percent each semester,” said Dean Rick Rantz. “I anticipate that we will continue that growth. And since we are bringing in new programs geared toward the ski industry, and developing programming to meet the needs of public utility districts in the area, that will also increase our enrollment.”Numbers are down so far this year versus last, with 326 students attending class now and 398 enrolled this time last year. The apparent drop is due to this semester’s later start and students still enrolling in classes, according to Mandy Davies, associate vice president of student services.Rantz said he anticipates that student housing, which will be built along with a new permanent campus planned for McIver Hill in Truckee, will give a boost to future enrollment. The college is looking to open its doors to students in three years.”We hope to have our student housing completed one year after the new campus opens, so when that happens we are going to be able to substantially increase our enrollment,” said Rantz.Popular classesThe most popular courses offered this semester focus on nutrition and food science, real estate and human development, particularly childhood education, Rantz said.”At the beginning of the term we were barley making minimum enrollment, and now we have 16 students,” said Kane Shaller, a Realtor for Dickson Realty who teaches the real estate principles class. “Everyone is looking to get their license and go into sales. The trend of the industry was traditionally that of a good ‘ol boys club, but in the last few years there have been a lot more young people coming in.”Locally and nationally, community colleges are seeing a decrease in the average age of their students, Davies said. At Sierra College’s Truckee campus, the average age is 27.5, nearly equal to the state average, she said.”As enrollment fees are increasing, the students who are squeezed out are the working poor; often older students do not qualify for financial aid,” Davies said. “Connected to that, I think there is a correlation between the strength of the economy; older students are choosing to get a couple of jobs as a trade-off for going to school.”
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