college, college campus

Community Colleges See Mothers, Daughters Enrolling Together

March 08, 2010 07:18 AM
by Colleen Brondou
A recession and high unemployment have converged to inspire record numbers of people—including parents and kids—to attend community colleges around the country.

Back to School for Mom and Daughter

Tough economic times have made many recent high school graduates pass up on the opportunity to attend pricey private schools and head to community colleges instead. Likewise, many unemployed adults are heading back to school in order to pursue new—and hopefully more stable—employment opportunities. “Within the surge,” writes Bonnie Miller Rubin for the Chicago Tribune, “there is a boomlet of parents and children attending school together, experts say.”

According to Miller Rubin, this semester, Harper Community College in Illinois has had a jump in adult enrollment of 17.5 percent from spring 2009. Meanwhile, the latest crop of high school graduates is also choosing community colleges to save money.

“This has led to more parents and children from the same family attending classes here,” Maria Coons, interim vice president at Harper, told Miller Rubin. “The number of duos like these has increased over the past year, and we anticipate it will continue to grow.”

Background: Surge in college enrollment

At the end of 2009, colleges around the country saw an increase in applications. Driven by the recession, many people have been going back to school in hopes of finding a better job market—and better job opportunities—after graduation. In Michigan alone, almost all of its state universities and several of its community colleges in the Detroit metropolitan area reported an increase in the number of students enrolled.

Analysis: Helping adults adjust to school again

Unlike recent high school graduates who are used to the classroom routine, many adults struggle to meet the challenges of college after 20 years away. ANTS, a support group for students in the mid-20s and older at Central Piedmont Community College in Matthews, N.C., is a support group that offers tips to make academic life easier.

According to Celeste Smith in The Charlotte Observer, “ANTS is one example of how area colleges are responding to a surge of nontraditional students heading back to school—many seeking new skills and careers in the struggling economy.”

The Ohio State University offers tips for adults going back to school. Learn why setting realistic goals and taking care of yourself is so important.

Related Topic: Obama’s community college makeover

In July 2009, President Obama announced a $12 billion plan to transform America’s community colleges and raise graduation rates. The plan also aimed to renovate facilities and upgrade online course offerings.

Reference: Applying to College

Use the findingDulcinea Applying to College Web Guide to find Web sites with reliable information and advice on the college application process and choosing a college that’s right for you.

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