State Tech recognized as the fastest growing college in Missouri

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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 record-breaking enrollments for five years in a row, and the number of employees has increased 61 percent since 2016.

The Chronicle of Higher Education award is based on enrollment dates for 2020 when State Tech had a total of 817 undergraduate students.

Last year, State Tech had 120 additional freshmen as of 2019, a 17 percent increase in enrollments – the highest in the state.

State Tech enrollment in 2020 was 98 percent of Missouri students, said Brandon McElwain, State Tech’s director of marketing, meaning only 38 overseas students came.

Across Missouri, elementary school enrollment decreased 4.5 percent from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

State Tech President Shawn Strong said the college’s 99 percent job placement rate and value proposition saved it from the nationwide trend.

“Student recruitment has been an incredible challenge over the past two years due to COVID-19,” said Strong. “It speaks volumes about state tech if we can keep adding students during the pandemic.”

McElwain said the college had been working to improve its website and online experience as the pandemic made campus visits impossible.

With a revamped website that is easier to navigate and the addition of extensive virtual tours, McElwain said the college was able to showcase its campus without the bus tours it normally relied on.

“This is where you get really addicted to State Tech when you see it in person,” said McElwain.

He said the admissions office also engaged prospective students through Zoom meetings.

McElwain also cites the college’s decision to return to face-to-face classes sooner rather than later as a possible reason it attracts more students.

“We went online for a couple of weeks to end this spring semester, but then we were back in person after graduation,” he said. “That caused quite a stir.”

The college might be ready for future growth awards as well.

State Tech has continued to grow this year as it had 2,025 students on census day, a 5 percent increase in enrollments year over year.

In addition, the State Tech open-house event on October 16 brought around 600 prospective students to campus.

“We had more students than ever before, so we are already seeing an increase in inquiries and applications this year compared to last year. We hope this trend will continue for the sixth year in a row, ”said McElwain.

The increase in enrollments poses new challenges for the college, such as:

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 the students entertained while they are not in class.

McElwain said the college is expanding its internal program to automatically add additional faculties once a program reaches an enrollment threshold.

“We had some of these programs (programs) that did that,” he said. “We have a couple that does that again this year. Now that we have this model, we use it all the time. “

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