Community College Enrollment on the Rise

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The Fall semester for college is more than a month away, but enrollment numbers are already looking promising for community colleges.

"I'm saving probably around, gosh, $24,000," Marilyn Chalfant, a WVUP student, said.

Chalfant spent her first three years of college paying a high price for an education, but last Fall decided to make the switch to WVU Parkersburg.

"It's a lot better to have the affordability, but have the same quality of education, maybe better," she said.

"It's a national trend, when the economy tends to be down, students come to community colleges for training, especially displaced workers who are looking for training to get back into the workforce," Connie Dziagwa, WVUP executive director, said.

Helping those out of work get back on track, and those preparing for work save some money on the way.

"When the economy is depressed a bit, parents think twice about sending their kids away to college, because it's an expense they may find a little overwhelming," Dziagwa said.

And when students find the workload overwhelming, Chalfant says community colleges can help with that too.

"With a smaller class size you'll have more one-on-one instruction. You'll have professors available to help you," Chalfant said.

But with enrollment on the rise, those small class sizes may just get a little bigger.

Dziagwa says Summer and Fall enrollment are both up by 17 percent.

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