The first two weeks of the semester are always hectic at Mott Community College's cashier's office, but this year the waits have been a little longer. And the bookstore lines are always long during rush week, but this year they've snaked out a bit farther into the hallway.
That's because enrollment at Mott, and community and other two-year schools across the country, is booming, thanks in part to the skyrocketing cost of an education at four-year colleges and universities. Students, faced with the prospect of massive academic debt and cuts to federal aid, are opting to take their classes on the relative cheap.
"U of M is something like $13,000 to $20,000 a year," said Larry McAuliffe, a 21-year-old MCC student from Flint. "Why do that when you can take your base classes for about one-eighth of the cost?.."
McAuliffe, who eventually wants to receive an engineering degree, said the prohibitive cost is a big factor, so he's taking as many classes as possible on the community college level...
The local trend mirrors the national one, analysts assert.
"I believe ... students are increasingly going to community colleges," said Stephen Burd, senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan...think tank based in Washington, D.C."They see it as a way to jump-start themselves toward a bachelor's degree..."
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