By Martin J. Kidston
As tribal colleges across the state enjoy a steady increase in enrollment, Stone Child College is keeping up with the trends.
Located on the remote Rocky Boy Reservation in north-central Montana, the two-year school has seen its enrollment jump from 166 students to 247 over the past year, according to Registrar Ted Whitford. Its a trend he attributes to many factors.
The main reason for that, we often get requests from the community to hold special training, such as EMT training. We were short on certified EMTs and we had 14 students enroll for that, Whitford said. Our class on natural resources pulled in 36 students, and the tribal department held a course on tribal planning, which pulled in 40 students.
Despite the growing interest in certain courses, Whitford said that many people are looking to better their future and make changes in their life.
Welfare to work also plays a part in that, Whitford said. Welfare will be gone in 2002 and a lot of welfare recipients are coming back to school.
Whitford said he expects enrollment levels to stay above 200 as more and more students continue their education.
Stone Child College is a two-year school that offers an array of associate degrees and certificates.
We offer associate degrees in general studies, general services, general science, small business management, office administration and computer science, Whitford said. We also offer one-year certificates in office technology and chemical dependency.
Whats more, the school lends a focus on Native American studies, math, liberal arts, general science and teacher education, and gears many of its classes to ease the transfer to four-year schools.
In the past, we had graduates that were satisfied with their two-year degrees, Whitford said. Now they are pursuing their four year degrees at schools such as the University of Great Falls.
Whitford said most of the students who intend to pursue their bachelor degrees transfer to UGF due to the ease of transferring credits.
Our agreements are a lot better with UGF than with Northern, Whitford said. At Northern, we still have some transfer problems, but we expect that to change with Chancellor Rao in place. Were working closely with him, trying to get our classes to transfer strait across. We want our students to leave here with their associate degrees and start school elsewhere at the junior level.
Whitford said Stone Child College offers telecom courses through UGF, Northern and occasionally, through Billings.