Attendance at Wenatchee Valley College is rebounding to pre-pandemic levels. 

Like with many things, enrollment numbers at the school sagged during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

WVC Vice President of Instruction Dr. Tod Treat says they're looking to attract 2,800 full-time students (or FTE - Full Time Equivalent) at the Wenatchee and Omak campuses. 

"We're hovering a couple of hundred below that right now," said Treat. "But the projections I would make that are a little early for fall indicate that we might get close." 

The total number of full and part-time students will likely reach between 3,500 and 5,000 at WVC. 

Treat says there's a bigger emphasis on attracting full-time students because they'll move on to further education or the local workforce far sooner than people taking a single class at the schools. 

Full-time students are on a two-year trajectory to get some type of accreditation or certification for a specific job or enough credits to transfer to a four-year school and a bachelor's degree. 

Most of the full-time WVC students attend the Wenatchee campus, although there are some programs at the Omak campus designed to boost its share of full-time enrollment. 

The Omak campus has three signature programs according to Treat, the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, the Applied Baccalaureate in teaching and more recently, the LPN to BSN Bridge Program for nursing. The Omak campus will also be launching a Medical Assistant program in the near future. 

Treat says the actual enrollment this fall won't be determined until a head court is taken on the 10th day of instructions in September. 

He says they have specific goals for overall attendance levels in the near term. 

"We would like to see those numbers get to a thousand at Omak and to get to 4,000 or 5,000 on the Wenatchee campus." Treat said. "So, that's the goal. And then if they're taking full-time classes, that FTE number of 2,800 that I'm looking for as Vice President of Instruction is going to go up." 

The head count for school was 3,029 in the fall of 2022, with about 2,700 attending the Wenatchee campus and 300 going to Omak. 

Wenatchee Valley College is seeing a rise in enrollment during an economic expansion in the country, which is not usual. Community and Junior colleges tend to see a spike in attendance when the economy is weak as people tend to seek further education during such times.  

Treat says the enrollment dynamic playing out during the pandemic recovery is much different. He says community colleges across the country are hoping to provide the right choices for students who have changing career goals and are more used to online classes. 

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