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Technical Colleges’ Spring Enrollment Climbs 

Atlanta– Spring quarter enrollment in Georgia’s 28 technical colleges is up by 19% over the same time last year.

Initial numbers posted by the technical colleges indicate that the current spring enrollment of 107,269 students is 17,381 more than in the previous spring quarter of 2009, when 89,888 students attended classes on the TCSG campuses. 

It also marks the third consecutive quarter of six-digit enrollment in the Technical College System of Georgia, which is a first for the system.

The TCSG colleges are on pace for close to a 20% overall enrollment increase in the current fiscal year ending on June 30. The system projects that the annual enrollment in FY 2010 will be in excess of 185,000 students, or about 30,000 more students than in the previous year.
 
Affordable tuition and world-class training that leads to an in-demand job in two years or less is increasingly attractive to both the younger, more traditional college students as well as older men and women seeking to learn new skills because they’re either under-employed or out of work entirely.

In fact, this spring quarter’s largest percentage increase was in the 40 and over age group, which rose by a third from 14,263 students in the spring of 2009 to the current 19,015 students.

The 25 and under age group, which accounts for about half of all TCSG students, grew by 11%.

TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson notes that the huge growth in enrollment continues to be fueled in large part by the effects of the recession, although the attraction of a technical college education is expected to remain strong even when the economy recovers.

“Georgia’s technical colleges offer low tuition and exceptional training in skills that are highly marketable and integral to the workforce needs of business and industry. We believe that the lasting value of a TCSG education will continue to draw more and more students to our campuses,” said Jackson.

TCSG tuition is currently $40 per credit hour but will be raised to $45 dollars beginning with the summer 2010 quarter. Since the majority of TCSG students use either the Georgia HOPE grant or the federal Pell grant (or both, depending on their need), most should see no additional out of pocket cost since the tuition increase will be covered by the grants.

“For those students who have exhausted their HOPE funds or do not qualify for the federal Pell grant, financial assistance is available through technical college foundations,” stated Cindy Tanner, executive director of the Okefenokee Technical College Foundation. “The OTC Foundation awarded over $65,000 in scholarship money to qualified students in 2009. For most students the greatest financial burden is the cost of books and program supplies.”

Almost 90% of TCSG students utilize state and federal grants to help pay for their education. As a result, very few TCSG graduates leave college and enter the job market while saddled with a heavy student loan debt.

Georgia’s 28 technical colleges offer 600 programs that lead to in-demand jobs and careers. Almost 40% of all TCSG students are enrolled in healthcare programs, and thousands more are readying themselves for careers in areas ranging from aerospace, energy and the environment, and life sciences to more traditional trades like electronics, automotive technology and cosmetology.

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