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Sierra College enrollment exploding

Renee Shadforth

The Truckee campus of Sierra College is exploding.

In its first fall semester with a site, the community college campus has 60 percent more students and 90 percent more full-time equivalent students. More students are attending the college more often.

And that’s with this year’s 30 percent increase in fees.

“All of this is encouraging for us because it means we’re starting to operate like a real college instead of just a closet in a high school,” said Frank DeCourten, the dean of Sierra College’s Truckee campus.

After spending years as a night school at Tahoe Truckee High School, Sierra College began leasing space in the Pioneer Commerce Center last spring. Now the Truckee campus operates evening, televised, Internet and daytime courses for the 350 students enrolled in its programs.

In addition to more course offerings, DeCourten also attributes the school’s growth to 30 percent fee increases in the California State University and University of California systems. A full load of classes at Sierra College costs roughly $279. A full-time student at Sacramento State University will pay approximately $1,256. At UC Davis, that student will pay roughly $2,250.

There are five Sierra College locations: a main campus in Rocklin, a 105-acre campus in Grass Valley, a training facility in Loomis, a satellite center in Roseville and the Truckee campus.

Sierra College’s main focus is transfer curriculum, so students can take the appropriate classes to transfer to a four-year university.

In the spring, the Truckee campus will continue to expand its offerings to include courses on digital art, natural resources and science of electronics.

As for the future of Sierra College in Truckee, administrators are formulating plans for a permanent campus in Truckee. The current site has its limitations, especially if the school continues to grow. There are also no traditional science labs available in the leased space, either, so labs are held outside.

“It’s in the very beginning stages,” DeCourten said. “But with the growth we’ve had, that will probably happen quicker than anyone thinks.”

For more information on Sierra College, call 550-2225.


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