Selkirk College’s fall enrollment is showing an increase.
Final semester calculations will be compiled for the end of October, but the annual September headcount reveals a 3.6 per cent increase in domestic students and a 21 per cent increase in international students.
“Although we are seeing enrollment fluctuations in a number of programs, there are also some clear positive signs,” says vice-president Neil Coburn. “For example, we have the strongest Engineering enrollment in a dozen years. But the enrollment highlight is definitely a new online program serving pharmacy technicians across Canada. The September NAPRA [National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities] bridging program intake had more than 330 registrants. We expect even stronger registrations for the January intake.”
Selkirk College signed the agreement with NAPRA earlier this year and is the only college in Canada offering the online program.
The program allows those already working in the role of the pharmacy technician to upgrade their skills to align with changes in the scope of practice for pharmacy technicians without having to return to school to complete a full-time training program. The ultimate goal of the virtual classroom is to provide training across Canada and enable regulated pharmacy technicians to relocate and work anywhere in Canada without having to re-qualify.
The Engineering program falls under the University Arts and Sciences department based in Castlegar and is part of Selkirk College’s emphasis of giving students an excellent start in a rural setting.
“The option for students to start their university degree in a more intimate setting is a distinct Selkirk College advantage,” says Coburn. “Engineering is just one example of the importance we place on transfer agreements with larger institutions.”
The bump in international students is a product of work being done overseas in recent months, particularly in India.
“Selkirk College offers international students a great place to learn and explore a special region of Canada,” says Coburn. “Having these students on our campuses brings the added bonus of shrinking the world for our domestic students.”
There have been some programs seeing enrollment declines. Business enrollment fluctuates year-over-year though job prospects for graduates remain good.
The Aviation program is experiencing decreased enrollment due to more competition for students including a new program starting in the Lower Mainland.
Medical Transcription is an online program offered in a field that is experiencing less of a demand for graduates. Students are enrolling in fewer numbers.
Selkirk College is mirroring a general trend in rural post-secondary education with enrollment down in the University Arts.
And Kootenay Studio Arts has seen a downward trend despite Nelson being a strong arts community.
In total there are 2,155 students currently registered in Selkirk College programs.