College sees four per cent growth over last fall

Up and down the valley, Okanagan College is again seeing fall student enrolment grow.

Okanagan College is reporting continued enrollment growth in 2016.

Okanagan College is reporting continued enrollment growth in 2016.

Up and down the valley, Okanagan College is again seeing fall student enrolment grow.

The total number of students enrolled in programs at Okanagan College’s four major campuses has climbed by almost four per cent compared to last year. A total of 8,329 students were registered in programs and courses on the college’s stable enrolment date (Sept. 16, the last date students could register and change classes).

Last fall the college had 8,005 students enrolled. Out of the four campuses, only Penticton experienced a small decrease in headcount, dropping to 913 from 966, but the number of course registrations at the campus grew by four per cent, from 2,672 to 2,777, meaning students are taking more classes and more courses.

It’s an indication of strong growth for the college, which reported 5,504 students in 2010, five years after Okanagan University College split to form Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.

“The indications are that we are experiencing another strong year,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. “We can likely expect that this will be the 12th consecutive year that we exceed government’s total enrolment targets. More importantly the strong demand for our programming indicates we are providing relevant and valuable education for our communities, and that’s what is most important to us.”

In 2015-16, Okanagan College achieved 109 per cent of those government targets. Salmon Arm, Vernon and Kelowna each recorded headcount growth over last year:

Salmon Arm grew by 23 per cent to 638 students from 525.

Vernon grew 6.8 per cent to 1,070 students, from 1,001.

Kelowna grew 3.5 per cent to 5,237 from 5,059.

The number of international students attending Okanagan College also grew significantly: 683 international students registered this fall compared to 534 registered at the same time last year.

Fall enrolment data doesn’t tell the whole story for Okanagan College. Various courses start at different times of the year, and a full enrolment report isn’t developed until after the fiscal year-end in March.