Enrollment is up by 5% this fall at the Community College of Allegheny County. 20,459 students have signed up for this term....about 1,000 more than a year ago.
CCAC spokesman David Hoovler says there are several reasons for the increase. He says more people are recognizing the variety and quality of the programs the college has to offer, plus there is the affordability factor especially with the economy being down.
"More people consider us because we're so much more affordable than many other options, but I think they then realize the quality that they can also get here."
Hoovler says over the last couple years, CCAC has put a strong emphasis on retention by increasing support services and trying to better connect students with professors. He says the increase in returning students has proved they're doing something right.
Hoovler says there was a 10 percent increase in online enrollment.
"We're offering more programs online and we have more courses that have an online component. We think the convenience of that is really appealing to a lot of people."
Historically, Hoovler says an increase in enrollment during hard economic times is common. On the contrary, enrollment decreases when the economy perks up.
He says a year ago, the college surveyed students and found that 3 out of 4 picked CCAC as their first choice college, which is a big step up from previous years.