For the second-straight year, the number of students attending Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has set a record.
The college's fall student headcount is 7,392, or 324 more than in fall 2009, representing a 4.58percent increase, according to figures the college released recently.
The numbers continue a four-year growth trend. Since the 2007 fall semester, the college has added 1,871 degree- and diploma-seeking students.
"We have added class sections, and some of our classes are larger than in years past," Gaye McConnell, the college's vice president of enrollment management and student services, said in announcing the latest figures. "We're also offering significantly more online classes.
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"We have worked hard to accommodate as many students as possible," she said. "Nevertheless, some of our programs have reached their capacity."
Officials at the college attribute the rise in enrollment to more unemployed Rowan and Cabarrus residents seeking training in new career fields.
They also said more traditional-age students are choosing to start their studies at the college.
The latest numbers don't include students in the college's corporate and continuing education programs. Factor those shorter-term programs and classes in, and the college serves more than 20,000 students annually.
The prolonged enrollment growth is one reason the college is asking Rowan County residents to support a $12million bond for facility needs in the Nov. 2 general election, college President Carol Spalding said.
"We simply have no more space at our north campus in Salisbury to offer new programs or adequately serve more students," Spalding said.