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Published September 26, 2013, 08:18 PM

Rule change blamed for lower enrollment at Lake Region State

Enrollment numbers at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake this fall dropped for the second year in a row, marking a pause after several years of growth.

By: Jennifer Johnson, Grand Forks Herald

Enrollment numbers at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake this fall dropped for the second year in a row, marking a pause after several years of growth.

The college reported 76 fewer students this fall compared to last year for a total 1,898. Until last year, enrollment numbers had been climbing by hundreds of students, swelling from 991 in 2007 to 2,100 in 2011.

The decline was evenly split between full-time and part-time students, mostly because of stricter college entrance requirements and lower enrollment at high schools the college partners with, said spokeswoman Erin Wood.

She said they’d expected lower numbers because they’d already been seeing fewer high school students enrolling in dual-credit courses, earning college credits while in high school.

The North Dakota University System a few years ago created stricter ACT score requirements before allowing high school students to take dual-credit courses at its 11 universities and colleges, said Wood. Along with Lake Region’s requirement that students to have at least a 3.0 GPA, some students found it harder to get accepted, she said.

The college saw a drop in enrollment when that rule went into effect, Wood said.

“We knew that would probably continue on,” she said.

In response to the decline, Wood said the college wants to improve its efforts at marketing. While newer programs like precision agriculture have been popular, the college’s traditionally popular programs could be highlighted more, too, she said.

“We’re looking at addressing that and also branching out into some newer, digital outreach as well,” she said.

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