Economy makes tech schools very attractive - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Economy makes tech schools very attractive

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Like many community colleges, Valdosta Technical College has seen an upswing in enrollment because of the recession. The school currently as 2,600 students, a record for the college.

More people are relying on community colleges, and the recession is affecting high school students' college selections.

Choosing a college is never an easy process. However, the weakened economy is making the choice a lot easier for many.

"Most of the time when there's a job loss in the area, many students come back to school looking for a new route-- a new career path," said Student Affairs Director Jarrod Brogdon.

The recession is turning more people toward community colleges. Valdosta Technical College is no exception.

"This current quarter, Winter Quarter, we are at 2,600 students, which is record enrollment for Valdosta Tech. That's about an 8% increase from last winter quarter, and about 5% from this past fall quarter," said Brogdon.

In addition to having lower tuition than universities, Jarrod Brogdon says there are additional reasons enrollment is up.

"Many of our students are back here for an education because they've lost their job or they're coming to us to recertify in a more stable career field," said Guidance Counselor Erica Cooper.

Many fields have been dubbed "recession proof" because of the constant need for their services.

"For the past two quarters we've seen a drastic increase in welding, accounting, clinical lab technology," said Cooper.

The economy is also having a large impact on high school seniors who are facing the big decision on where to continue their education.

"You're going to see more students looking toward two-year community colleges simply because of the financial burdens that may be placed on their parents right now."

While the value of a degree is priceless, a pricey education just isn't in the budget for many of us.

Studies show that the country's average tuItion for community colleges is just over $2,000. Private four year universities average over $25,000.

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