GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan community colleges are seeing an increase in enrollment this school year with two state programs being credited for driving the numbers.
Enrollment at Grand Rapids Community College is up 4.4% compared with the fall semester last year. This year the college is offering in-person classes, in addition to online courses.
Jason Schueller, a recruiting director with GRCC, says the pandemic has a lot of people re-evaluating their career goals and making a change.
“We’re seeing a combination of students who want to change careers but also advance in their current job roles and they’ve realized during the pandemic some of that technology has shifted. How jobs are performed have shifted,” Schueller said.
The Futures for Frontliners program is providing tuition to people working in crucial positions during the pandemic. The Michigan Reconnect program is also providing many people a chance to go back to school.
“For in-district students, those that live in Kent County, both programs cover your tuition. Students are just responsible for books and some course fees,” Schueller said.
Muskegon Community College is also seeing an increase in enrollment attributing a big portion of that increase to the state programs, according to Provost John Selmon.
“The Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners is quite significant. Nine hundred and seventy-five students are in that category,” Selmon said. “About 26% of our students.”
Kalamazoo Valley Community College Provost Paige Eagan says it is a couple of weeks away from final fall numbers. The college is seeing more students changing careers into high-demand fields that provide a better wage.
“Going into careers such as healthcare and industrial trades as well as looking at how they can pick up some classes for those students who are looking to transfer to four-year universities,” Eagan said.
Kellogg Community College is also seeing an increase of 1.2% in enrollment, which is expected to increase over the next few weeks when final numbers are calculated.