Fall enrolment numbers are showing that Okanagan College is headed for an 11th straight year of exceeding government targets for student enrolment.
Information from mid-September—when the deadline has passed for students to register for most academic programs and courses—indicated an overall increase in student numbers of about 5.9 per cent: 6,967 in 2015 compared to 6,577 in 2014. That includes students registered in degree, diploma and certificate programs, as well as those registered in trades, vocational and upgrading programs.
Helping fuel that number is a significant growth in international student numbers (although international student enrolments don’t count toward government targets): September enrolments show an increase of more than 20 per cent, with 534 students from 50 different countries at OC’s campuses (predominantly Kelowna).
It’s important to note that the mid-September numbers tell only part of the year’s story for Okanagan College. There are trades, vocational, and continuing studies programs that commence at different times through the fall and into January and early 2016. The complete enrolment picture won’t be known until well into the spring of 2016.
In 2014-15, Okanagan College reported exceeding government targets for funded student spaces by six per cent. In each of the 10 years since the split of OUC in 2005, the school has surpassed government-set targets.
The fall enrolment numbers for this year show the institution may achieve the same sort of performance.
Each of Okanagan College’s four major campuses showed growth from last fall to this fall, with Salmon Arm reporting 5.2 per cent growth (16 additional students, total 319 in 2015), Kelowna with 7.6 per cent (327 more students, total 4,622), Penticton with 2.8 per cent (793 up from 771) and Vernon showing 1.8 per cent growth (783 in 2015, up from 769 last year at the same time).
Significant growth was seen in the College’s business portfolio, with combined academic and vocational programs showing a 7.8 per cent growth (1,821 students compared to 1,689 in 2014). There was also notable growth in the College’s technology programs, including computer information systems: total enrolment in that area grew by 10 per cent, from 461 in 2014 to 509 in 2015.
Enrolment in the trades area, including foundation-level and apprenticeship programs, has also shown seven per cent growth year-over-year, to 780 students as of Sept. 19. In 2014-15, Okanagan College was the second largest trades training institution in the province.