Community college enrollment up

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KAIT) - As kids go back to school over the next few weeks another group of students are also jumping back in with both feet.

Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff already has over one hundred more students enrolled this year than last year, and that number is still growing!

In 2007 there were3,190 students enrolled in 34,302 credit hours.  This fall there are already 3,327 students enrolled in 37,527 credit hours at TRCC.

"It is just incredible to have this many people on campus who are excited about learning something and improving their chances for the future," said Dr. Wesley Payne, Vice President for Learning at TRCC.

Dr. Payne said this is a good time for both the faculty and the students.

"We are about helping anybody that wants to improve themselves come and pursue an education," said Payne.

"It's definitely an experience that everybody should try.  Coming to a two year college is definitely the first step to going to a four year college," said freshman Chris Crafton.

During touch economic times more may be choosing to go back to school.

"Anytime you've got an economic downturn and people begin to get laid off, other people around start looking at who is getting laid off and it's pretty easy to find out that the more education I have and the greater value of my human capital the less likely I am to be the one that loses their job," said Payne.

"You can't really get as good of jobs if you don't have a college education and you can get paid more when you get out of school," said sophomore Sarah Johnson.

Payne said it provides a great incentive to come to school.

"They don't even have to come to campus to attend class," said Payne.

TRCC is expanding the amount of distance education and on-line classes that they offer, which they say is good for people who have to work during the day!

"We're really pushing that as an opportunity for students who otherwise don't have the time commitment that they could have for their schedule or their child care needs or family obligations.  They can enroll in an on-line class," said Payne.

"I can still live at home.  I can still come to college up here and definitely get the college experience without all the bills and the prices.  I've got a job back in my hometown of Van Buren so its letting me live the best of both worlds," said Crafton.

In addition to the Poplar Bluff campus there are smaller campuses in Sikeston, Malden, Campbell, Kennett, and Portageville.

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