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November 22, 2014

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Down economy could account for CSN enrollment hike

Enrollment at two-year colleges often shoots up when the economy sours, which might account for a jump in registrations at the College of Southern Nevada this fall.

An Oct. 15 count showed 41,388 students enrolled, a 6.15 percent increase over the same day last year, when 38,990 were taking classes at CSN.

Academics say such trends can be attributed to the fact that going to school to learn new skills and earn new credentials becomes more enticing when unemployment is high.

CSN’s enrollment spike comes at a time when the college, like other public agencies, is facing large budget cuts, putting a strain on the college’s already tight resources. CSN has historically received less funding per student than Nevada’s three other community colleges.

In the 2007-08 fiscal year, CSN received $6,753 per full-time-equivalent student while Great Basin College got $11,990, Truckee Meadows Community College $7,806 and Western Nevada College $9,788, according to figures in a five-page June memo from CSN to the Board of Regents that governs higher education.

The budget cuts are so dire that the college has made plans to close several learning centers in outlying areas in June 2009, including one in the Moapa Valley that is serving 197 students this fall, 75 more than last fall — a 61.5 percent increase.

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