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A recent spike in community college enrollment may be driven by jobs and affordability.
Data from Ohio's Higher Education Board shows enrollment has more than tripled in the past decade for Community Colleges and Regional Campuses. President of Zane State College Doctor Paul Brown said from a local perspective that averages out to be a 10% hike each year.
"The word is out that you need some level of college education to get a skilled job," said Brown.
According to Brown students 35+ are seeing the most significant growth in enrollment. He said these students are looking for a quick way to get the skills and training needed for today's job market. Students between the ages of 18 and 22 are choosing the 2 year-programs as an affordable stepping ground towards a 4 year-degree. The good news for the community is that 75-percent of graduates in the past 42-years are still living and working within 30 miles of campus.
"Our students tend to stay around since we align them with jobs in our area they tend not to go other places," explained Brown.
The 2-year Regional Campuses and Community Colleges are estimated to continue to grow in popularity. According to the Ohio Association of Community Colleges 44%of students who earn Bachelors and Masters degrees in physical sciences, engineering, and computer and mathematical sciences, started their education at a community college.