Trends show Increase in Enrollment at Vernon College

18 year-old Zachary Mire is registering for fall semester at Vernon College.

Like many students at Vernon he wants to further his education but didn't have a whole lot of cash.

"I wanted to go to college so I had to go for somewhere I could pay for," he said.

It's a trend Dr. Dusty Johnston, President of Vernon College, says can be seen across the nation.

"There is a 50 year historical time line for junior colleges that our enrollment fluctuates up and down as the economy goes up and down," he said.

And for the last several years the enrollment has been on the rise.

"Two years ago we had significant growth over 20 percent state wide growth in community colleges, but that was at the very bottom of the economic downturn," Dr. Johnston said.

In 2008 Vernon college's fall enrollment was at 2,960.

That spiked up 7 percent the following year to 3,167 students.

Another 2.7 percent increase was seen from the fall 2010 enrollment to fall 2011 when the enrollment was 3,252 students.

Johnston says new programs and facilities could also be the reason for recent enrollment increases.

"We have invested in this renovation and with that we have expanded in many of our allied health programs," he said.

Programs that allow students to get out in the work force in just two or three years.

And when the budgets tight Johnston says it just makes sense.

"We are all in that boat where every penny counts and if I can take a few classes today, at Vernon College and save a few dollars, then I am probably going to do that," he said.

Right now Vernon College is at about 50 students lower then last years enrollment.

Johnston says if they can maintain the same number they had last year they will be in better shape then most.

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