Kirkwood Community College sees record enrollment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Kirkwood Community College sees record enrollment

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -A poor economy and the higher tuition costs of the bigger universities have contributed to making community college an attractive option for students.  Whether or not a tuition hike at the three state universities will continue to affect this trend remains to be seen.

Right now, schools like Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids are seeing record numbers.

"It's a huge increase, a school usually doesn't see those types of increases in the fall," said Krstie Fisher, Vice President of Enrollment at Kirkwood.

Kirkwood is citing an enrollment of close to 18 thousand, an increase of nearly 17 percent, the poor economy is part of the reason why.

"It's led some students who maybe would have started at a university or a private institution to start here at a more affordable rate," said Fisher.

First year student Justin Stout was hoping to attend a bigger school.  Instead, he'll transfer to a small community college in Wyoming where tuition costs run lower.

"It's insane how much it is, when you can go to a smaller college for literally half the cost," said Stout.

Fisher points to a large increase of non-traditional students as another reason why they've seen the spike in enrollment.

"Probably the biggest wave that we saw based on the economy is returning adults.  People that are unemployed, underemployed or who are maybe worried about the stability of their job and getting their skills back up."

Fisher says she's seen almost a 33 percent increase in students age 25 and older.

Even with the threat of higher tuition costs across the state looming, Fisher expects enrollment at Kirkwood to level off in the coming years.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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