Enrollment Boom at Technical Colleges

By: Sarah Rasmussen Email
By: Sarah Rasmussen Email

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College's fulltime student enrollment in New Richmond is about 900 students right now. School leaders say it's normally about 700.

CVTC in Eau Claire says its enrollment has increased nearly 60-percent from 1997 to 2007.

30-year-old WITC student Kyle Farrell thought he chose the right career path for himself, but the economy has told him otherwise.

"I'm looking to enter the job market again with the training I've received here. And get out and be able to support my family again like I used to before I had to change careers,” he says.

Kyle was a contractor and, for a while, he says business was good.

"There were a few years where we were working Monday through Sunday, new houses non-stop,” Kyle says.

But when the housing market took a tumble, and Kyle started losing money, he says he needed to go back to school.

But with a wife and three kids, he says it's not easy to do.

"The time. Being able to spend time with the kids because a full time student, still trying to work full time to make ends meet, and with you going to school, it means working weekends,” Kyle says.

So that's why he chose a technical college, because it doesn't cost as much as a university, and his program only runs two years.

“Doing what we can to pinch the pennies, so to speak. Get through these tough times and get through these two years of school and get back out there where we're earning our money like we want to,” Kyle says.

Technical college leaders say class sizes have grown because of the enrollment growth, but they say they're at a manageable level, where students still get a good education.

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