FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT ANSON SMITH AT 203-332-5229 OR JANICE SHAEFFLER AT 203-332-5220

HCC ENROLLMENT TOPS MOST U.S. REGIONS’
25 PERCENT JUMP OVER TWO YEARS
NEW RECORD IN WORKS  FOR SPRING, 2010

BRIDGEPORT, Conn.  – When it comes to enrollment, Housatonic Community College in this former metal manufacturing hub is not your average community college.

That picture emerges from a recent enrollment report released by the American Association of Community Colleges last month. Comparing HCC enrollment data to the report reveals to the report, HCC topped all but one U.S. in overall enrollment increases from 2007 to 2009.

“The report shows that total community college enrollment nationally increased by almost 11 percent over this period,” said HCC Institutional Research Director Janice Schaeffler. “Housatonic’s headcount increased by 25 percent.”

HCC placed second only to the Rocky Mountain region, which experienced a 36 percent enrollment growth. Nonetheless, HCC’s 38 percent increase in full-time students topped the Rockies' 31 percent.

Schaeffler attributed the Housatonic increase to the worsening national economy, which is being felt doubly hard in the Greater Bridgeport area. The resulting loss of jobs forced many families to tighten their belts, sending their children to community colleges for two years then on to the more expensive four-year colleges.

Bridgeport is the largest and poorest city in the state, and the poorest city in one of the richest counties in the country.

“Because of the economy, families are now discovering one of the community college’s best kept secrets: that students can cut their college tuition bills in half by going to a community college for two years then transferring to a more expensive private four-year school,” she said. “They’re learning that community colleges have something for everyone, from honors programs to challenge the academically oriented to courses and services designed to promote the success of students who find the transition to college difficult.”

Schaeffler noted that community colleges offer programs that provide new career opportunities to workers displaced by the worsening economy.

Housatonic’s 25 percent overall enrollment growth topped that of New England (15), the Mid East (14 percent), the Great Lakes (14 percent), the Plains (16 percent), the Southeast (19 percent), the Southwest (19 percent), and Far West (17 percent). Likewise, the college’s 38 percent increase in full-time students topped New England (20 percent), the Mid East (18 percent), the Great Lakes (23), the Plains (18 percent), the Southeast (28 percent), the Southwest (22 percent), the Rocky Mountains (31 percent) and the Far West (31 percent).

HCC’s 19 percent part-time student enrollment growth, while placing second to the Rocky Mountains’ 39 percent, topped New England (12 percent), the Mid East (10 percent), the Great Lakes (9 percent), the Plains (14 percent), the Southeast (12 percent), the Southwest (18 percent) and the Far West (4 percent).

Housatonic was well positioned to handle the influx of students, she noted.

“Just as the economic downtown accelerated, a new building, Beacon Hall, which doubled the size of the campus, opened its doors.”

That influx shows no signs of abating. As of Jan. 28, Spring, 2010  enrollment hit the 5,845 mark, topping the record-setting Fall, 09 enrollment of 5,609. With enrollment already topping  the college’s planned 5,500-student capacity, college officials have once again begun planning to address future space needs.