BSC President concerned about enrollment drop

Jun 11, 2012

Western North Dakota's oil boom means a lot of opportunity. But as Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports, there is a down-side for higher education.

Bismarck State College had a small enrollment drop last year – and BSCPresident Larry Skogen is predicting another small drop this fall.

"What's disconcerting is that it's North Dakota males that we're losing," said Skogen. "And we're losing them to the wonderful opportunities for them in the oil country."

Skogen says some of the oil companies have been offering “signing bonuses,” such as pick-up trucks, to entice the males to the oil fields. But he says he’s concerned that the high school grads aren’t getting the education that will serve them into the future.

"We want to make sure we're doing what we can, so that we have good citizens in the next generation," Skogen said. "Those of us in education believe part of that is -- they need to come to a school and learn about social sciences, critical thinking, how to communicate and all those things that make them good citizens."

Skogen says he will be talking with the oil companies about this. He says in the coal and power generation industries, companies are requiring certificates or degrees before they’re employed.