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CPCC sets record for enrollment with 20,454 fall-semester students

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  • N.C.’s biggest community colleges

    Here are the 10 biggest community colleges in North Carolina, ranked by enrollment in degree programs (according to 2011 N.C. Community College System report):

    1. CPCC and Wake Technical Community College (the two schools are close in enrollment, although CPCC spokesman Jeff Lorwance says Wake TCC was slightly ahead last year)

    3. Guilford Technical Community College

    4. Fayetteville Technical Community College

    5. Forsyth Technical Community College

    6. Cape Fear Community College

    7. Pitt Community College

    8. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

    9. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

    10. Gaston College



Central Piedmont Community College has more students enrolled in classes this fall than even before, school officials said Monday.

CPCC officials took advantage of the news to make a pitch for a $210 million bond referendum on the November ballot in Mecklenburg County.

The college said it has 20,454 students enrolled in the fall semester. That is up about 1,000 students over the 2012 fall semester, a college spokesman said.

Over the past seven years, CPCC has added about 4,500 students.

CPCC, observing its 50th anniversary, is in a near dead-heat with Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh as the state’s larges community college.

The school serves about 70,000 students annually, when including on-site corporate training, English as a Second Language, GED and other non-credit classes.

College spokesman Jeff Lowrance said the increased enrollment apparently is a sign that “a lot of people are trying to make themselves recession-proof.”

Lowrance said CPCC enrollment figures began booming at the start of the recession and have kept climbing, except for a drop of about 700 students between 2011 and 2012.

“People are starting new careers, or working on educations to further themseves in the workplace,” Lowrance said.

CPCC President Tony Zeiss said the enrollment figures provide a good case for voters to approve the bond referendum in November. CPCC plans to use the money in a five-year plan on 10 renovation and construction projects that will add nearly 1 million square feet of instructional space.

“The bond referendum could not come at a better time for our students and the college’s need to add new job-training programs,” Zeiss said. “It’s hard to tell students, ‘We’re sorry, you can’t get the lab or class you need this semester to finish your program.’ ”

Zeiss said CPCC also wants to add health care and manufacturing studies programs but does not currently have the space to do so.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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