Steady student growth at Okanagan College

A new program at Okanagan College supports students in need with free meals. Global News

Jim Hamilton likes what he sees: Steady student growth at Okanagan College.

With campuses in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm, and more than 120 certificates, degrees and diplomas available, Okanagan College is a popular post-secondary institution. So popular that Okanagan College is hoping to surpass its enrollment targets for a 14th consecutive year.

According to Okanagan College, when the the enrollment period for this fall semester ended in mid-September, there were 9,570 students registered. That’s up 13.3 per cent from 8,446 students a year ago.

“The numbers are encouraging,” said OC president Jim Hamilton. “But what’s really significant is that they tell us and the community that we are helping more students pursue higher education.”

“The latest B.C. labour market projections show that by 2028, there will be 903,000 job openings that need to be filled in B.C.,” Hamilton said. “Eighty per cent of those jobs will require some form of higher education. That’s where we come in.”

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In 2017-18, the college achieved 113 per cent of its enrollment targets. The numbers for 2018-19 won’t be finalized until the end of the fiscal year, March 31.

Kelowna’s campus enrollment grew to 6,126 this fall compared to 5,330 last year, while Vernon’s student stats climbed to 1,088 from 970. Penticton enrollment grew to 1,025 from 940 and Salmon Arm’s student numbers increased to 721 from 692. Students registered in distance education courses grew to 610 from 514.

Okanagan College has also seen growth in its international students, from 876 last year to 1,393 this fall, and domestic students, with 590 more students from Canada this fall than last fall.

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