Economic crisis boosts college enrollment

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As unemployment numbers go up, so do enrollment numbers at local colleges and universities. College counselors say more people are returning to school during this sluggish economy.

Botros and Toi Spates are in their final semester at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

"After I graduate, I'm going to work three years on the force, either patrol or police officer," said Botros. "Then I am going to apply to the FBI."

Both women say they are aware of the state of the economy. That's why they are doing what it takes to make themselves more marketable.

"It's just a matter of thinking ahead," said Toi Spates.

Spates is an honor student at the college who hopes her 3.94 grade point average will put her one step closer to her goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.

"It's been a lot of studying and late nights with the friends and homework and honors projects. Just a lot of work in general," said Spates.

College counselors say they're seeing an increase in the number of students interested in nursing and computer technology programs. They say the changes in enrollment are all about job security.

"People are looking for opportunities with layoffs from jobs, re-training and that sort of thing," said Roxanne Towles.

Towles is an academic counselor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She says it's no secret that when the economy bombs, college enrollment booms.

"They're looking to make better lives for themselves," said Towles.