Enrollment at Williston State College has hit a record for the fourth straight semester, primarily because of the expanding scholarship programs the school offers.
The school’s census total, which was released Tuesday, was 1,098 registered students. That translates to a nearly 6 percent increase over last year.
The school’s census total, which is released four weeks after the first day of school, was 1,098 registered students. That translates to a nearly 6 percent increase over last year.
Most of the students — 885 — are from North Dakota, while 104 are from Montana and 109 come from other states, from Canada or from other counties.
The growth was largely driven by the multiple scholarship programs the school offers, officials said.
“Williston State College’s fall enrollment growth was once again driven by our regional and county scholarships that provide students with free tuition and fees,” John Miller, president of WSC, said.
The Williams County Graduate Scholarship, which was launched in fall 2015, offers up to two years of free tuition for graduates of any Williams County high school, regardless of when they graduated.
While attending WSC, students must keep a 2.0 GPA to keep the scholarship and have a minimum of 12 credits a semester.
In fall 2016 the college launched the Regional County Scholarship program, which extended scholarships to graduates from Burke, Divide, McKenzie and Mountrail counties. This fall saw the scholarship grow to include graduates from five counties in eastern Montana: Daniels, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley counties.
There were 201 Williams County and 78 Regional County scholarships for a total of $674,530, according to a news release from the school.
The college also started a housing scholarship program this fall.
“A housing scholarship tied to Williams and Regional scholarship recipients has also provided students an additional incentive to attend WSC,” Miller said. “Enrollment at WSC continues to grow at a steady and manageable rate, allowing the college to keep pace with expanding course and program requests.”
The occupancy rate for the school’s four dorms is now at nearly 82 percent, according to WSC.
Another reason for enrollment growth is the expansion of the college’s Early-Entry program. That program allows high school students to take advanced courses while still working toward their high school diploma. The courses are taught by approved instructors, taken via distance learning or offered on WSC’s campus.
There are 289 students taking part in the Early-Entry program, for a total of 1,067 credit hours, an increase of 24 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
Record-breaking enrollment continues at WSC with 1,098 registered students according to census totals released Tuesday, September 19.