Anoka Technical College is increasing in enrollment as students choose to return to college following record declines between 2020 and 2022 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the 10th day of fall semester, student headcount has climbed to 1,755 students, representing an enrollment increase of 15 percent from Fall 2022 to 2023. Enrollment by number of credits has also increased, with full-time equivalent enrollment (FTE) up 13 percent from last year.
During the pandemic, the Anoka Tech administration, faculty and staff recognized the need for flexibility and safety, leading them to consider various adjustments, while listening to students’ preferences for class scheduling times and course modalities.
“The impact of this surge in enrollment resonates far beyond our campus walls,” says Dimitria Harding, Interim Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. “Every student who walks through our doors is not only seeking a brighter future but also bringing a unique set of skills and perspectives to our community. As they learn and grow with us, they will soon emerge as skilled professionals, ready to make significant contributions to society. We are not just educating individuals; we are shaping the future workforce of our community and, by extension, our region's economic and technological growth.”
Anoka Tech is also succeeding in attracting increased population of students of color. In fact, 36.2 percent of enrolled students in fall 2023 are students of color, which has been increasing each year and is up from 23 percent in 2018.
“We are committed to continuously strengthening our culture of inclusivity. It’s imperative that our students and everyone who enters our doors, feel welcome and know they belong here,” says Anoka Technical College President Kent Hanson. “Our BRIDGES (Belongingness, Restoration, Inclusivity, Diversity, Growth, Equity, Sustainability) plan guides us as a college as we seek to structure the necessary bridges to support current and future students, employees and community members in achieving their goals academically, professionally or socially.”
Several student success initiatives, aimed at supporting retention and entrance into Anoka Tech, have boosted enrollment this fall. One example is the college’s Summer Scholars Academy program, designed to prepare new students and those returning to college after stepping out for one year or more. This program offers students an alternative to enrolling in remedial courses by teaching course content in reading, writing and math as well as study skills and campus resources, so they are fully prepared to start courses in their program. Summer Scholars Academy is free and saves students time and the extra costs associated with remedial coursework. In summer 2023, 21 students who participated in summer program, were able to get started in their academic program of choice this fall.