More studying at community college

April 29, 2009 4:11:30 PM PDT
All of a sudden community colleges are making the grade, as far as enrollment is concerned.Students are showing up in big numbers, due in large part to a troubling economy.

The children's literature class is full, like so many here at Montgomery County Community College. It seems a tanking economy has rendered the school more attractive than ever.

"It's a lot cheaper actually. I pay less than a a third of what I would be paying at Temple or Drexel," said student Limi Thomas.

Enrollment at the 2 year institution is on the rise.

"We've been seeing record enrollment for the past several years. This spring we had nearly 12,000 students which is up 10% from last spring. It was a similar increase last fall," said John Flynn, Ph.D of Montgomery County Community College.

MCCC is among the dozens of community colleges across the state reporting enrollment spikes.

At $12,000 to $15,000 a year, full time tuition here is lower than for a typical 4 year institution.

Hundreds of students are on a waiting list to get into the school's health classes.

There's a 13% rise in students transferring here from 4 year colleges, and internet class enrollment is up 30%.

"By and large what you take here can transfer to a 4 year school. So in essence, you come here for a 2 years, it's like a 2 year scholarship for a 4 year institution," Flynn said.

Even if the economy improves, community college officials expect the increase trend in enrollment to continue. They believe more families will have been exposed to the economic value of a community college education.

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