The troubled economy has local students flocking to Cascadia Community College this fall. With family budgets tightening and unemployment rising, many people are looking for an affordable way to begin their college career or improve their job skills.
More than 3,000 students are taking classes, the most ever in the college’s history. Fall enrollment is up 15 percent over this time last year. Enrollment jumped 88 percent over last fall in Cascadia’s worker retraining program, which provides financial support to recently unemployed workers.
“We’re filling a vitally important community need. We provide affordable access for people on the Eastside who want a quality education but can’t afford the tuition at four-year schools. In addition, some students need training that gets them back in the work force as quickly as possible. We offer that opportunity so they can keep supporting their families,” says Dr. Richard Carvajal, vice president for Student Success Services.
With classes and classrooms full nearly to capacity, Cascadia’s new Global Learning and the Arts building will open in January to accommodate 800 more students.
“The enrollment increase this fall is significant for a number of reasons. This is the 10th consecutive year that Cascadia will exceed the enrollment targets set for us by the state,” says Cascadia President Bill Christopher. “More importantly, we have grown to a size that allows us to offer a more comprehensive class schedule with a variety of day and time options for students. This makes their lives more manageable and allows us to better meet their educational and career goals.”