Maine community college officials said a robust job market was part of the reason for an almost 6% drop in enrollments this fall.
This decline is part of a larger trend in higher education. Nationwide undergraduate enrollment is on track to drop by more than 3% after declining last year, according to recently released data.
Maine Community College System president David Daigler said this was likely due in part to more job postings, which led students who registered last spring to take jobs.
“So they left credits blocked because they didn’t have the diploma and the apprenticeship that took place. But they have enough learning to get some traction in the workplace, ”said Daigler.
Daigler said the system was working on ways to educate people while they were working, such as creating new training programs with companies. The system has dramatically increased its short-term training programs for workers in recent years in areas such as healthcare and manufacturing.
Meanwhile, preliminary numbers across the University of Maine’s system also show enrollment drops of around 0.5%. But officials note that the system’s flagship campus in Orono has attracted more out-of-state students, resulting in a 2% increase in student numbers.
This article appears as part of a media partnership with Public of Maine.
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