Wiregrass Newsroom: Students look to two year college system to get jobs in tough economy

Mikolas Roberson just shortly after he enrolled in summer classes at Wallace Community College.
Mikolas Roberson just shortly after he enrolled in summer classes at Wallace Community College.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - Mikolas Roberson spent a year and a half at a four year university.

"I racked up a ten thousand dollar bill when I was down there for three semesters," he says.

The money he was dropping for tuition, books, living expenses, and university fees wasn't working out.

"Focusing on money in school was almost like being a student athlete, but instead of the athletics, you'd be dealing with the money. "

So now he's back home enrolling in Wallace Community College's nursing program.  It's a move he made primarily for finances, but also for another reason.

"I found that Wallace had a good program for what I'm majoring in."

But he's not the only one coming back.

Wallace administrators say nearly 10 percent of their student population transferred from four year universities. That's about 400 students choosing the two year college system as a means of landing a job.

"We are seeing more reverse students a lot because they can't find a job. Many of them have gone to the four year university and come back to go into a health field because they know that they can find a job," says Guidance Counselor, Jean Dagostin.

It's a trend community colleges nationwide are experiencing. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, 1/3 of the current two-year student population attended a four year college.

For Mikolas, the experience could have set him back.

"I would have graduated, but it would have taken a lot longer."

Now he hopes he's on the fast track--getting an education and a job.

Wallace administrators say they also help people who have lost their jobs by offering training programs.

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