Fall Enrollment Down at BSC | VideoJoel Porter | 8/20/2012
Dozens of students at BSC were lining up this afternoon to pick up text books for the semester.
"It was really packed, we had to wait in line, but it went pretty fast," sophomore Paige Hoiby said.
The bookstore was one of the only places where you`d find a crowd on the otherwise laid-back campus this afternoon. Several first-time students say that`s just fine.
"NDSU`s too big for me and I thought a two-year would be an easy way coming from a small high school," freshman Tayler Wolff said.
This past weekend, 309 students moved in, easily filling up every available room on campus, yet BSC`s enrollment is on the decline. The reason? President Larry Skogen says there are simply too many good jobs and not enough housing.
"We`ve had dozens of students call our admissions office and say we can`t come because we can`t get on your campus and we can`t find affordable housing in the Bismarck-Mandan area, so they`re withdrawing their applications," Skogen said.
Right now, only about 15 percent of the student body lives on campus. Skogen says the college has room to build a fifth residence hall and he says breaking ground on new living quarters in 2013 is not out of the question.
"I think we`ll have something in the works in the next semester or two. Clearly, putting together a plan, putting together the financing so that we can break ground maybe next spring."
Fortunately for the pocketbooks of students, BSC has been able to freeze tuition for four straight years thanks to the state board of higher ed and the legislature, making it the second most affordable college in North Dakota. Skogen says once they can address the housing need, he`s confident the school`s enrollment will grow once again.
Nearly 3,400 students have registered for classes at BSC this fall.
Skogen says they won`t know the final fall enrollment numbers for another four weeks.
Those numbers include online students and high school students who earn partial credit for vocational programs at BSC.