Pueblo Community College provides a financially stable alternative to higher education
With more and more students going into debt before they have even chosen a career and no relief in sight for mounting student loans, some college-bound students are opting for a safer route to their degrees.
“The vast majority of universities charge thousands of dollars per semester - leaving students with large amounts of debt after they graduate,” noted a study from the Community College Foundation. “Many students are discovering they can save thousands of dollars by enrolling in a community college for the first two years before transferring to a university.”
Many of those students have begun gravitating towards one of the four campuses that make up Pueblo Community College. In the academic year of 2015-16 PCC served 7,422 students, which represents the full-time equivalent (FTE) student enrollment of 3,619 - equal or higher to that of many four-year universities located in Southern Colorado.
Finances tend to play a principle role in a student’s choice to enroll in community college. According to the Colorado Department of Higher Education, from 2007 to 2011, during the peak of the economic recession, Colorado’s community colleges saw consistent increases in enrollment peaking in the 2010-2011 academic year with 58,994 - over 18,000 more than pre-recession enrollments from 2006-2007. Though the numbers have started gravitating back down towards pre-recession era enrollment total, Colorado’s community colleges continue to focus on paving a clear, economically-sustainable path towards a college degree.
“Community college faculty focus exclusively on teaching and providing personal attention to students,” the CCF noted. “They are not required, as are most university faculty, to spend time away from the classroom to conduct research or publish.”
Furthermore, the classroom sizes for most community college classes range from 25-35 students versus the 300-400 student-sized classrooms at universities.
“These small class sizes provide an atmosphere in which you can easily ask questions and talk to your instructors and classmates, not only to help you grasp the concepts, but also build relationships,” the CCF added.
Founded in 1933, Pueblo Community College has maintained its vision to focus on providing academic and service excellence to help students acquire the 21st Century skills they need to thrive.
Pueblo Community College not only has an economic impact on its students, either, it also provides significant value to the communities it serves.
According to a PCC release highlighting a study from leading research firm Emsi, PCC and its students “added $192.6 million in income to the school’s service area economy,” which includes Pueblo, Canon City, Mancos and Durango.
“That annual total is the equivalent of 3,828 jobs and is equal to 1.9 percent of the region’s gross regional product,” the Emsi study continued.
Another factor that assists in Pueblo Community College standing out from the rest is its partnership with several of Southern Colorado’s largest corporations, which allows employees to further their education and training while maintaining their full-time jobs.
In the academic year 2015-16, for example, PCC trained 1,663 area workers through its programs. PCC counts among its five largest partners corporate behemoths like Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel, Vestas Towers, UTC Aerospace, Ska Brewing Co., and LafargeHolcim.
One of the greatest benefits of community colleges, including PCC, is how they are able to serve the low-income demographic.
According to the Education Advisory Board, the number of low-income students enrolling in college right after high school is increasing and community colleges are better positioned to serve those students now and in the future because they already serve a higher proportion of at-risk populations such as low-income, first-generation and minority students.
For more information on how to enroll at one of the four campuses that make up Pueblo Community College visit www.pueblocc.edu.