Space Constraints Force Tribal College To Close Doors on Enrollment
A housing shortage on the campus of United Tribes Technical College has led the college to cut off enrollment.
President David M. Gipp says that, for the second year in a row, the college is anticipating a fall enrollment of more than 1,100 students, up from the 400 students who enrolled for the 2001-2002 academic year. The school also serves nearly 500 children whose parents attend classes.
Gipp says there is strong demand for higher education among the growing population of young American Indians. He says that just over 50 percent of the American Indian population in the country is under the age of 24, which accounts for much of the demand.
Despite the surge in demand, Gipp says he expects the enrollment cap to be temporary.
“We’re busy trying to build a new apartment house on campus, trying to acquire some housing in the city of Bismarck, so we are trying to address our growth issues,” he says.
UTTC students may be forced to move into motels and apartments in Bismarck while the college works to expand its housing options.
In 2002, UTTC officials adopted a campus strategic planning process that prompted growth in both enrollment and the campus infrastructure. The two-year college is also planning to expand its educational and vocational facilities with an additional 132 acres that have been acquired by the college.
In North Dakota, the overall population has been declining because of the outward migration of young people, officials say. With the exception of several counties containing larger cities, only those counties that contain American Indian reservations have recorded population increases.
The demand for higher education has meant that UTTC has faced a 50 percent to 60 percent increase in enrollment figures.
In 2001-2002, there were 409 students enrolled for each term, says Kathy Johnson, the institution’s director of enrollment services. That number increased to 1,188 in 2005-2006.
— By Shilpa Banerji and wire reports
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