WILLISTON, N.D. - Fourth week census totals released Tuesday, September 20, 2016 show that WSC again broke an enrollment record with 1,039 students registered for the Fall 2016 semester.
Though an only .10% increase in students was recorded, scheduled credit hours and full-time equivalent (FTE) students both increased 2.31% compared to 2015 census totals.
"The census numbers are good news because they show WSC is still growing but at a slower and much more manageable pace," explained Dr. John Miller, Acting President of Williston State College. "The FTE increase points to more students taking more credits, which is definitely related to the positive effects of the scholarship programs for Williams, McKenzie, Divide, Mountrail, and Burke counties."
Since 2015, WSC has seen an increase in students due to the Williams County Graduate (WCG) Scholarship and the implementation of the Regional County Scholarships.
Both scholarships provide free tuition and fees to graduates from local counties but differ in that the WCG Scholarship can be any graduate of a Williams County high school no matter the year and is funded through the Alva J. Field Trust. The Regional County Scholarship is only eligible to 2016 graduates at this time.
"A total of $800,659 have been awarded to 428 Regional and WCG Scholarship recipients as of September 7, 2016," explained Crystal Hotchkiss, Registrar and Research Analyst. "We have received a lot of positive feedback from scholarship recipients so it's great to finally see them on campus."
The Regional and WCG Scholarships as well as WSC's early-entry program are the main reasons for the steady high numbers.
"Early-entry at WSC is up from last year  with 260 students enrolled and 27 students taking prep classes at Williston High School," said Kim Wray, WSC's Director for Extended Learning. "Our retention is strong, we have about 30% of our Freshman who were early-entry students last year."
As part of the Title III Grant, WSC's Amanda Davis and Wanda Meyer currently teach Calculus through prep courses to these early-entry students in the new Williston High School. These prep courses prepare students to enter into College Algebra as Freshman next year.
Student retention has become a major focus once early-entry students transition into WSC Freshman. The Regional and WCG Scholarships help with retention, but so too does Student Life at WSC.
"Teton WoW [Week of Welcome] provided educational and entertainment opportunities all week for new and returning students," explained Kaylyn Bondy, Vice President for Student Affairs. "Magician Dan Martin and Educational Speaker CL Lindsay both brought in full crowds."
"Despite the downturn and population loss, it is great to see our numbers surpass last year's record breaking enrollment," stated Natalie Boese, WSC Communications Specialist. "Our scholarships and early-entry programs provide tremendous resources to the northwestern North Dakota community that we hope can continue into next year."
The Regional and WCG Scholarships will continue at WSC as long as funding and donations are available. The WSC Foundation encourages anyone interested in donating to please contact the WSC Foundation at 701.572.9275.
For more information on WSC please visit www.willistonstate.edu, call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.