WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 24, 2010, 08:04 AM

Demand for 2-year higher education programs at an all time high

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - As universities around our area begin tallying up final numbers for fall enrollment, one of North Dakota’s colleges is boasting impressive growth. Wahpeton's NDSCS campus in Fargo has added a two year liberal arts program. It's the latest tool the school is using to attract students who don't fit into a traditional 4-year university mold.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

With demand at an all time high, wannabe welders are filling the rooms at NDSCS Fargo as classes begin today, but as this Wahpeton college continues to expand here in Fargo, a sign that education is catering to a new generation of learners.

“I thought with a 4-year degree, getting a job would be no problem.”

25-year old Jessica Langseth went four years to college and racked up student loans. One problem: Her degree in Classical Studies.”

“I am excited about the opportunities for welding. I heard that you can get a job.”

That's right a Classical Studies graduate will soon be welding. And 18-year old Danielle Sugden started at NDSCS Fargo today. Living with cerebral palsy, she needed something small that catered to her needs.

“It is very appealing to us as a new generation able to stay home in PJ's and have easier access.”

“The Fargo area needs this. We respond to the needs of North Dakota and it needs a well qualified work force and we can provide that.”

And with this growth, NDSCS has more than 1,300 on line students. A sign that higher education is catering to a student who wants to learn at different pace than family did decades ago.

NDSCS Fargo Campus is also starting a new paramedics training program this year.

At NDSU, on-line distance education continues to grow. Right now, more than 800-students are taking classes without ever stepping foot on campus. They are signing up from across the country.

Easier internet access, incentives from businesses all have resulted in more students getting an education without going the traditional route.

“Really what I think the driving forces are economy. We have people who are forced to get back to school and people juggling several things like family and work and now they can be active in all those different fronts.”

North Dakota colleges will release preliminary enrollment numbers tomorrow.