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Enrollment up at Wake Tech

Posted July 22, 2008
Updated July 23, 2008

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— Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh is experiencing record enrollment numbers as a weak economy and job losses send thousands of people back to school.

Adam Skelding, 38, ran his own residential design business for 10 years. That was until he says the market slowed, so he went back to school to become an engineer.

"I am a little more focused. A little more mature than I was 10 or 15 years ago,” Skelding said.

Whether people are looking for a change or struggling to learn new skills after a job loss, the troubled economy is paying off for Wake Tech.

It is people "from their 20's to their 60's that are coming back to us,” Wake Tech President Stephen Scott said.

Scott said there is nearly a 20 percent increase in fall enrollment over this time last year. Most people are taking classes to transfer to other universities. Some classes are so popular, administrators must get creative to find space for everyone.

Students are meeting in "public schools. We (also) use churches, we use chambers of commerce as classrooms,” Scott said.

Even the rising cost of gas is having an effect on how people are learning. Instead of traveling to a classroom, many people are deciding to take their courses online.

“Our summer enrollment was up significantly, but they weren't physically on the campuses. I said, 'well, where are the people?' And it turned out they were in online classes,” Scott said.

With the spike in enrollment, thousands of people who apply to classes in high-demand may not get a spot, Scott added.

Fall classes begin in mid-August. Of the students currently registered, 47 percent are in the university transfer program and 12 percent are in Health Sciences. The Simulation and Game Development program is among the hottest, with nearly double enrollment from last fall.

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  • TheAdmiral Jul 24, 2008

    A few things here:

    I think the community colleges should raise tuition. IF they have a limited number of seats, then they should do seating like the air lines. Based on demand. Demand goes up and the supply don't, the price goes up.

    Second, I think they should raise the standards of the entrance exam they have to 10th grade level, or the public school system let out kids after they complete the 8th grade. Since the entrance exam can not be passed by 80% of the people applying at the community college.

    That will force the public school system to teach 13 grades rather than just 8 grades in 13 years.

    I also believe that if there is anyone there who is not going to classes but looking for their next boy/girl hookup, they should be escorted off campus by armed guard.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 23, 2008

    Cheeksgirl

    Going to school costs money. People that go need to pay for it. Apparently, you operate under the misguided belief that this is fee. See in the normal universe where I operate higher demand gives you the ability to charge more for the product. Have you heard of loans? Do you think that all the students attending are unemployed? Your question is a product of the abundance of moronic thinking that has us wallowing in debt.

  • Cheeksgirl Jul 23, 2008

    whatelseisnew - what sense does doubling tuition make with people losing their jobs in this economy.

    Your post makes absolutely no sense what so ever!

  • superman Jul 23, 2008

    Nothing new in this story. The community colleges have been utilizing schools and churches for years. It is called the Community Schools program. It allows the schools to provide space for classes in the persons area for classes. We dont need a community college on every street corner. It is wasteful spending-- you cannot duplicate services over and over. The school they building in northern wake county is a waste. We have a lot of schools and they are empty at nite. Public libraries should replace every library in the schools. The school library can easily serve as a public library and school library. But then-- we talking about the use of public tax money and that is all free spending. Doesnt cost anybody anything! Free health insurance, welfare, free housing etc. and no one has to pay. What a wonderful world we live in. Got my Wake County tax bill yestereday and I can tell you one thing-- I am payiing for something-- not sure what yet.

  • chadsangel4 Jul 23, 2008

    Online classes are not the best option for all students. I go to Wake Tech at night. I could just see me trying to take classes online with three kids and a husband running around the house. It is much more practical for me to go to a classroom.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 23, 2008

    Yes, I remember that story, maybe that is why so many are opting for online classes. When they talked about building another campus in Morrisville, I suggested that was foolish, push people to use online facilities. Courses that require labs, should be the only ones conducted at a physical campus building.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Jul 23, 2008

    Does anyone else remember the story about a month ago about all the people dropping out of community colleges because of high gas prices?

  • whatelseisnew Jul 23, 2008

    this is good. the tuition should be immediately doubled to help pay off the debt incurred by the college.