PRCC fall enrollment remains strong

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POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College has enrolled more than 5,400 students for the second successive year, a sign that the two-year school continues to attract students in search of a quality education at an affordable price.Classes started Aug. 15 and late registration wraps up this week.Figures compiled through Aug. 24 show 5,400 students, including 4,513 full-time students enrolled at one of the three PRCC campuses, satellite locations or on_line.”Pearl River Community College has experienced another strong enrollment for the fall semester,” said PRCC President William Lewis.”We are obviously pleased with the confidence that our students have placed in our College. As we grow, our efforts continue to focus on providing high-quality higher educational experiences for our students. We take the confidence shown in us seriously.”Following a decade-long run of enrollment increases, the college 2011 total is down some 100 or so students from a year ago, although enrollment in online classes is up from 1,347 last year to 1,452 this year. Early indications are that enrollment statewide among community colleges has suffered a decline.”We talked about the possibility of this happening to our enrollment,” said Lewis. “People who have lost their jobs and came back to school swelled our rolls. A lot of those folks have run out of their financial aid and can no longer afford to stay in school.”He also believes the cost of gasoline has had an effect on commuter students.Meanwhile, all residence halls on the Poplarville campus are full.”Our dormitories are at full capacity this fall with a waiting list of about 65 students,” said Dr. Adam Breerwood, vice president for the Poplarville campus. “With the opening of the new men dorm this semester we have more students residing on campus than ever before.”We have received great reviews from our students on the quality of our new dormitory. We have a wide variety of students activities planned in the next couple of weeks and are expecting a great start to the school year.”Enrollment at the Forrest County Center hovers around the 2,000 mark for the second straight year.”We are pleased that we have another good enrollment,” said Dr. Cecil Burt, vice president for Forrest County operations. “I know the economy is contributing to this, but I also feel that more and more students are discovering what a bargain community college really is. Our location, the wide range of courses we offer, and the flexible schedules which are available contribute to our growth as well.”Bids will be opened Sept. 1 on a new Career and Technical Center at the Forrest County Center to handle future growth.Said Burt, “We anxiously anticipate the completion of this project because this will allow for some much needed expansion in both the academic and career technical areas.”PRCC remains a viable opportunity for people in South Mississippi who have lost their jobs for one reason or another and desire to pursue a second career.”Pearl River Community College is still a strong option for those people who need retraining, especially adults,” said Chuck Abadie, director of public relations. “We offer many short-term training programs, depending on the kind of career a person desires.”