The State Technical College of Missouri is the fastest growing college in the state, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
State Tech has had five consecutive years of record registrations and its membership has grown 61% since 2016.
The Chronicle of Higher Education distinction is based on enrollment data from 2020, when State Tech had a total of 817 undergraduates.
Last year, State Tech had 120 additional students for the first time as of 2019, which equates to a 17% increase in enrollments – the highest in the state.
State Tech’s enrollment in 2020 was 98% students from Missouri, said Brandon McElwain, director of marketing at State Tech, which means only 38 students came from out of state.
Across Missouri, undergraduate enrollment fell 4.5% between fall 2019 and fall 2020, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
State Tech President Shawn Strong said the college’s 99% placement rate and value proposition had shielded it from the statewide trend.
âRecruiting students has been incredibly difficult over the past two years due to COVID-19,â Strong said. âIt says a lot about State Tech when we can continue to add students during the pandemic. “
McElwain said the college is working to improve its website and online experience because the pandemic made campus visits impossible.
With a revamped website that’s easier to navigate and the addition of lots of virtual tours, McElwain said the college was able to showcase its campus without the bus tours it usually relied on.
âThis is where you really get hooked on State Tech, when you see it in person,â McElwain said.
He said the admissions office had also engaged potential students through Zoom meetings.
McElwain also attributes the college’s decision to resume in-person teaching as soon as possible as a potential reason it is attracting more students.
âWe went online for a few weeks to complete this spring semester, but after graduation we were back in person,â he said. “It really created a buzz.”
The college could also be in reserve for future growth accolades.
State Tech’s growth continued this year as it had 2,025 students on Census Day, which equates to a 5% increase in enrollment from last year.
Additionally, State Tech’s open house event on October 16 drew approximately 600 potential students to campus.
“We have once again had more students than ever before, so we are already seeing an increase in applications and applications this year compared to last year, so we hope that this trend will continue for a sixth consecutive year”, McElwain said.
Growing enrollment presents new challenges for the college, such as the need for more teaching space and a review of student-teacher ratios in some departments.
State Tech recently built its utility technology center and is entering a second phase of development for the facility.
In addition, the college is developing the Osage County Country Club with amenities to keep students entertained when they are not in class.
McElwain said the college is expanding its in-house program to automatically add additional faculty once a program hits an enrollment threshold.
âWe’ve had a number of these (programs) that have done that,â he said. âWe have a couple doing it this year as well. Now that we have this model, we use it continuously.