Community Colleges Reporting Enrollment Surge


One sign of the current economic troubles facing our country is an increase in enrollment at community colleges. Also known as technical colleges or junior colleges in some areas of the country, these schools offer certificate and associate degrees at a price that most public and private colleges cannot touch.

Rising Community College Enrollment

college studentsYesterday, I came across an article (Murray, Sara. “Weighing the Two-Year Option” The Wall Street Journal 28 January 2009: D1) which explained that enrollment at two year schools has been rising over the past year and at a rate greater than what most schools have expected. Unfortunately, state cutbacks are putting the squeeze on community colleges as enrollment surges, making it difficult for schools to provide all of the resources needed for their students.

My Personal Community College Journey

From a personal standpoint, I know what it is like to go to a community college and then transfer those credits to a four-year institution, which is what most two-year college attendees end up doing. Like one of the people mentioned in Murray’s article, I didn’t apply myself in high school which limited my options.

At community college I got a fresh start, a new direction, and excellent grades. Several years later (I attended school part-time) I transferred sixty credits to a state college who accepted each and every one. Two years after that I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a degree that wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t started out at a community college.

Coming from a large family, we didn’t have the financial advantage to be selective on schooling post high school. The local community college opened up that door which enabled me to gain a fresh start and pursue my goals. Today, I run my own business, something I founded in 2002. I credit my education on both the community college and state college level with helping me reach higher.

An Option Families Will Want To Explore This Year

Of course, as Murray noted there is still an issue of increased enrollment going up against decreased funding. Likely, most schools will have to increase tuition to cover their expenses or face the less desirable option of cutting back on services, amenities and staff. Still, with community college costs being just a fraction of what most people pay for a private school education, the two-year option will likely be looked at seriously by families in 2009.

Photo Credit: Tom Spitznas

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Categories: Academics, Campus News