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Small decline in Selkirk College student enrolment

  - File photo
— image credit: File photo

Selkirk College student enrolment numbers have dipped slightly for the 2012-13 school year.

As of November 1, there were 1,937 domestic students and 122 international students studying at Selkirk's eight West Kootenay campuses and learning centres.

Last year's head counts recorded 20 more students — 17 more domestic and three more international — on the same date last year.

College spokesperson Pat Henman said the difference is negligible and numbers may even out in the coming months, as there is still intake available for some of the trades and online programs.

"If we look at these numbers in a month from now, we might find we're up a few heads compared to last year. The numbers always fluctuate to some extent," Henman said. "In some of our online courses, we're still waiting for more students to register before we start the class, which we could see happen at any point."

She credits some of the decline in numbers to last year's cost saving measures that included a reduction in the number of upper level science courses being offered and changing Kootenay School of Arts programs from two-year diplomas to one-year certificates.

KSA, located on Victoria Street in Nelson, has 56 fewer students this year. Total enrolment went from 220 students in 2011-12 to 164 this year.

But other Selkirk programs are filling in the gap. Henman said enrolment is up in most the trades programs, citing the carpentry and general mechanics programs as particularly popular.

As well, there are more Aboriginal students studying at Selkirk — with 66 enrolled in various programs this year, compared to 60 last year.

"We opened the Aboriginal Gathering Place at the Castlegar campus last year," Henman points out. "We've had a lot energy going into recruitment of Aboriginal students and this shows we're being successful at it."

Another area recruiters focus on is attracting more international students, who benefit the school by paying higher tuition rates.

"Our recruiters have really out there working hard to get international student," Henman said, citing Japan, Russia and South American countries as key distinctions for recruiters. "Unfortunately it sometimes comes down to whether governments will grant a student visa, which we can't control."

Overall, Henman said she's pleased to see the school's enrolment numbers holding steady and said the new 2012-2017 strategic plan will help lead the school into the future.

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