Estimates indicate gradual slowdown in community college enrollment

During the past three years, enrollment in community colleges had increased steadily as students explored more affordable ways of beginning their academic careers. However, the number of students filling out college applications for two-year colleges has declined slightly since last year, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The study was published by the American Association of Community Colleges, while the National Student Clearinghouse compiled the data. Enrollment in community colleges dropped by 1 percent to 8.3 million between fall of 2010 and 2011. Despite this, overall enrollment remained high, 22 percent more than in 2007.

"The change in community college enrollments this fall resulted in part from a drop in full-time students and a slight increase in students enrolled part time," reads the report. "The reasons for the decline in full-time students could be due to a variety of factors. There seems little reason to think that reduced intensity of enrollment is due to an improvement in economic conditions."

Community college can be a great way to explore majors that may interest you without committing to a four-year degree program. The reduced cost of studying at these institutions can also be a strong motivator, especially given the uncertain nature of the economy and a challenging job market. 

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