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The original item was published from 2/6/2015 10:44:28 AM to 2/28/2015 12:05:01 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: February 6, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Highlands busts all other two-year colleges in 10-year enrollment

Highlands College is the Super Bowl of student enrollment growth – over the long-term, at least.

Highlands increased its enrollment 179 percent from 2003 to 2014, recently released Montana University System numbers show.

In 2003-2004, when the institution five miles south of town was still known as the Butte Vo-Tech, there were 416 students.

Ten years later, in 2013-2014, enrollment increased to 1,160 students.

Second to Highlands is Missoula College University of Montana, which has a larger local population base than Highlands. It increased its enrollment by 145 percent – from 1,203 to 2,948 students.

Dean John Garic sees many reasons for the burst in enrollment.

Highlands has a much higher profile these days, which lends itself to drawing more students.

“The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education has had a significant emphasis over the past six years to re-envision and re-brand two-year education, giving it a much higher profile and emphasis across the state,” Garic told The Montana Standard.

Changing the name of the college was part of the genesis that has transformed the south campus of Montana Tech from a local night school to the progressive two-year institution that it is today.

In 2012, the Butte Vo-Tech became Highlands College, named after the eye-catching mountain range south of town.

“As part of re-envisioning of the newly renamed Highlands College, we expanded our mission and started offering the Associate of Science degree,” said Garic, “which is a degree intended for students who want to transfer to a four-year program. This attracted a lot of students our way.”

Read the full story in The Montana Standard.
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