Lakeland College saw a small drop in student enrolment this year. The college had a total of 2,474 students enrol this fall which is down 23 students from the 2018/19 school year.

Vice president of academic and research Michael Crowe says the drop comes from a decline in the number of students in the energy petroleum technology program. The college has limited the number of international students as they try to attract more local people to their post-secondary programs.

“Lakeland is the number one choice for post-secondary students in our region but we do see a lot of mobility to Edmonton and other institutions there. We think there’s a compelling reason for them to stay and choose Lakeland.”

Crowe believes the programs offered by Lakeland College align well with the labour market in the area and high employment rates for graduates is attracting more students. When compared to the previous year, there was a drop of 54 part-time students but had an increase of 31 students in full-time programs.

“Overall we’re pretty steady when compared to last year which we feel really good about. Last year was one of our record years for enrolment and we’re holding steady around that number which sets us up really nicely for the coming year.”

Crowe sites economic benefits, a low cost of living, lower tuition costs and new degree completion options for students to be contributing factors to the increases in full-time studies.

Crowe says online course enrolment has increased over the past five years and expects it to continue to grow. The agriculture sciences continue to grow year over year and the university transfer department saw an increase of 11 per cent this year.

The college hopes to launch another new degree program in agriculture technology in 2020.