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Published September 21, 2011, 09:58 PM

VCSU seeing enrollment growth

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Just because you live in a small community, doesn't mean you can't receive a valuable post-secondary education. While major universities like NDSU are displaying stagnant enrollment numbers, some smaller schools have seen exponential growth over the last couple years.

Just because you live in a small community, doesn't mean you can't receive a valuable post-secondary education. While major universities like NDSU are displaying stagnant enrollment numbers, some smaller schools have seen exponential growth over the last couple years.

Lately, it’s been known more for floods and political turmoil, but underneath all of Valley City's controversy lies one of the top rated midwestern colleges in the U.S. Valley City State University has seen a 40% enrollment growth over the last four years, adding hundreds of students. And now, it's been named the top regional college in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.

Steven Shirley – President of VCSU: “As you look at the increase, it's across the campus. It's in a variety of academic programs and majors. We've seen growth at both the graduate and undergraduate level.”

Eric Schauer – VCSU Junior: “I heard about advancements in the science program so I came here.”

Another reason, VCSU is embracing technology. Every student is given a laptop compatible with all digital classroom materials. Valley City State University now has 1,384 students, breaking a 40-year old enrollment record. But with that kind of growth comes some side effects.

Cora Mikkelson – VCSU Senior: “I kind of felt like I knew everyone, but as I've progressed through school and moved off campus, I feel like I don’t' know as many people anymore so it's kind of lost that small town feel.”

Renovations in campus housing have led to a 10-year high residency rate at 347 students.

Steven Shirley: “You want to create that energy and enthusiasm and excitement that's part of a college campus and part of that is having a larger on campus population.”

The increased population hasn't led to overcrowding yet, but that's just the kind of problem school officials are hoping to someday embrace. In the last few years VCSU has also added Track and Field, and Men's and Women's golf teams.

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