There's a boom in Community College Enrollment
Since the year 2000, there has been a 10% growth in overall enrollment at two-year institutions; that's according to the Department of Education. Terry Webb, Madison Area Technical College 's associate vice president for learner success, says there are several reasons for that increase, including access to higher education in general.
"The community college or technical college system in Wisconsin is the backbone of that system, so we are their first point of access to the higher educational system in Wisconsin and the community colleges serve that purpose."
Also, Webb says students are recognizing the value of a technical college education. It's less expensive to attend the first two years at a community college before transferring to the University of choice.
Or Webb says some students simply go to a tech school to build career skills before heading out to the workforce. As the economy changes, so do skills needed to obtain or maintain a job.
"So, we have a lot of students who are coming back to learn new technical skills, or coming back to learn new leadership skills, or coming back to change careers entirely."
Webb says students of all ages make use of the technical colleges, with a student's average age of 30. Programs are tailored to people who need to refine their job skills or learn new skills fast.
Also, Webb says tech schools are very helpful with employer tuition reimbursement programs.
As a result of increasing enrollment, some community colleges are exploring innovative ways to serve their growing student bodies, make better use of facilities and attract new professors.