Maine Community Colleges See Applications Jump 20%

Officials blame the weak economy and rising unemployment.

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Maine's community college system is reporting a 20 percent increase in applications for the spring term, the Bangor Daily News reports. Applications at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield are up 38 percent, the largest jump within the system. At Central Maine Community College in Auburn, they are up 25 percent. Across the board, that is 600 more people who have applied for admission this term (which starts this month) than last year.

The timing couldn't be much worse, since the system is already absorbing a 63 percent increase in enrollment from 2003, when it transitioned from technical to community colleges. The system also has seen $2.9 million in state cuts for this fiscal year.

Officials contribute the rise in applications to—no surprise here—the weak economy and rising unemployment.