AUGUSTA — Enrollment in Maine’s community colleges has grown 4.3 percent since last fall, an increase of 769 students. Since making the transition from technical to community colleges in 2003, the seven colleges have had an 83 percent growth in their enrollment, from 10,127 to 18,548 this fall.
In announcing the numbers, Maine Community College Systems president John Fitzsimmons cautioned that the colleges are unable to serve all those who seek to enroll. He said, “Demand for all of our programs, particularly the trade and occupational offerings, remains strong, but the colleges lack the capacity to serve many more students. As a result, enrollment growth is slowing. Eighty-four occupational programs offered by the colleges are at or over capacity this fall. Again this year, we have had to turn away many qualified applicants. This is bad for those who seek a more secure future through a college degree and bad for the state’s economy which needs many more highly skilled workers. The will and the demand are there. The resources are not.”
The colleges with the largest enrollment growth this fall are Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, up 6.5 percent; Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, up 5.8 percent; and Southern Maine Community College in South Portland and Brunswick, up 5.3 percent.