Enrollment up at Riverland

Published 7:49 am Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Riverland Community College’s enrollment is up 2.7 percent from last year, a trend mirrored by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Riverland’s total headcount jumped from 3,465 to 3,558 students, according to MnSCU data. This comes on the heels of a massive 12.9 percent increase in total enrollment from last year.

The economy appears to be the driving factor in Riverland’s growth, according to Dr. Terry Leas, Riverland’s President.

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“People are out of work and seeking opportunities to get additional skills and knowledge,” he said.

Riverland’s Austin location still has the largest number of students out of the Austin, Albert Lea and Owatonna campuses, according to Leas.

The total student headcount at the Austin campus is 1499 students, up from 1484 students last year, according to James Douglass, Riverland’s director of communications.

According to Leas, prospective students often look to Riverland for the nursing and farm business management, automotive service technology and liberal arts programs offered. As a result, programs which enroll students at any point of the year, such as the farm business management and customized training programs, will boost Riverland’s enrollment numbers slightly higher.

Some of the students at Riverland included in total headcount numbers may not even see a classroom. Leas said 23 percent of students at Riverland are taking online courses, meaning over 700 students are learning online at Riverland.