George Cartsonis, communications director for Oakland Community College, said, "Enrollments at community colleges are what we call counter-cyclical.
"When an economy goes bad, our enrollments shoot up, and when the economy gets better they tend to level off," he
noted Oakland hit record enrollment last fall at 29,962, a 26 percent increase from 2002.
"What spurs this is the large number of people who have been laid off, particularly by the auto companies and suppliers.
They come to our community college in hopes of finding an alternate career," he
The college is offering more classes to meet student demand.
"We have a weekend college that we instituted a year or so ago, and it is designed in such a way that people can come on Friday night and Saturday and complete their associate's degree," Cartsonis
expects the economic recovery to move slowly, which means enrollment will level out and possibly decrease.
But the changes to programs won't be dramatic, he
"As long as the economy stays sluggish, we expect enrollment to stay at the kind of levels they are at.
If the economy improves, enrollments will tend to drop off until the next economic cycle," he