Enrollment continues to surge at NJ's public colleges and universities. Part of that is due to a population bulge and also a poor economy that has served as a catalyst for some people to return to school to improve their employment resume.
The community college growth has been fueled by several initiatives by the Obama administration. People looking to retrain for new careers in this tough economy has been a focus of those initiatives.
Students and their parents are also being much more cost-conscious and are opting for the much lower tuition rates during their first two years of college and then transferring to 4-year schools.
That is one reason why our Writing Initiative has concentrated on the redesign of General Education courses as writing intensive. Those GenEd courses are the ones that will transfer to NJ's 4-year schools.
According to Randy Jenkins, Director of Online Learning, online enrollments are up 36% over the same time last fall.
Our newest campus in Passaic which last year "is already at capacity," said President Rose.
In our neighboring county, Bergen County College opened its fall semester with more than 17,000 students as enrollment grew in both its distance-learning courses and its new campus. Enrollment at their new Meadowlands campus in Lyndhurst grew by more than 58% from 2009, and students enrolled in online courses increased 12 percent from last year.
At NJ's 4-year colleges,growth is also the trend. NJ's largest university, Rutgers, has three campuses with more than 56,000 students this year, up from 53,000. The state university plans to add 2,000 more dormitory beds at its main campus over the next two years.
There are about 230 more students this year at Montclair State University which has an enrollment of 18,402, making it the second-largest university in the state.
At William Paterson University in Wayne, enrollment is up 4.6 percent to 11,217.