MANKATO — Rasmussen College’s enrollment is climbing fast and the college is adding several new programs to meet community demand.
Rasmussen College Mankato President John Pappas said the college, part of a system with campuses in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota and Florida, enrolls about 700 students, a 10 percent increase over last year.
Many of the college’s students enroll in one of the allied health programs, especially nursing, which is one of the areas where the college plans a major program expansion.
The Mankato campus will be the first in its system to offer a two-year registered nurse’s degree. Years ago, the Mankato campus was the first in the system to launch a licensed practical nurse’s degree.
The college will begin enrolling students in January to start the RN program in April.
Another new program Rasmussen has added is one that will train students to be peace officers.
The classroom portion of the program will pair up with the skills portion — which is required to become a licensed officer — which will be offered at the system’s Eagan campus. That program was launched this fall.
The college’s early childhood education degree also has been updated. Instead of only offering a general two-year degree on the subject, Rasmussen now offers three areas in which students can specialize: children with special needs, child and family studies, and child development.
Adding new programs quickly is something Rasmussen has been able to do for years. Because it is a private institution, it doesn’t have to follow a complex state-approved process to add programs.
“We’re rolling out programs because we’re getting feedback from the community,” Pappas said.
The college hasn’t dropped any programs. Instead, Rasmussen has been changing the degree some of its programs grant, such as the massage program. Students can still obtain a certification diploma in massage, or they can complete a comprehensive two-year degree.
And many of Rasmussen’s programs now come with a bachelor’s degree option. Roughly a fourth of all Rasmussen students are pursuing bachelor’s degrees.
The business program makes up the bulk of them, but the college enrolls bachelor’s degree students in law enforcement and other areas.
Tuition has increased modestly. The cost per credit this year is $420, a 3 percent increase over last year.
At Rasmussen, however, tuition costs include books and other fees such as scrubs for nursing students.