Salt Lake Community College was named the sixth-fastest growing two-year public school in the country. This notoriety was bestowed upon SLCC by Community College Week-an independent magazine dedicated to community, technical and junior colleges-less than one year after placing SLCC fourth among the country’s associate degree-granting institutions in July of 2009.
Being an enrollment leader in a time where the number of individuals going back to school is already significantly on the rise, is no small feat.
“I started back to school in the fall of 2008 after I didn’t get a new job because of my lack of a degree,” said SLCC student Summer Bray. “With the economy the way it is I think having a degree is one way to keep relevant in the marketplace.”
Bray said she chose SLCC because of its convenient night classes, saying she felt it was the best fit to work with her full-time employment schedule.
While some students like Bray chose to enroll in SLCC because of its flexibility, others enrolled because of its helpful staff.
“I originally started out at Weber but they weren’t very helpful and wouldn’t work with me on some of my academic holds. When I came to SLCC they were really great about working with me to take care of my holds,” said Hunter Adams, a Computer Science student at SLCC.
Joy Tlou, SLCC Director of Public Relations, acknowledged that in times of economic downturns the public historically turns to higher education to better their situations. While many students enroll at SLCC because of being laid off from their jobs, many more are currently full time employees and looking for something new.
“The ranking of sixth-fastest growing school was based off of a 16.5 percent growth in 2008. Since then our numbers have grown by close to four-thousand, making the total enrollment numbers around thirty-seven thousand students,” said Tlou.
All of this comes at a time where the state legislature cut SLCC budget by 13 percent, forcing school officials to make hard fiscal decisions such as closing the Sandy City campus.
“Imagine you are going to dinner with three other friends and you only have twenty bucks, Tlou explained. “Then you find out that four more people are going to be joining you. You would have to make cuts to your plans in order to make things work,”
While SLCC was challenged to do more with less money they found that in the case of closing the Sandy Center they were able to move all classes seamlessly, maintaining the same scheduled times and sizes of classrooms, just at a new location: the Jordan or Miller campuses.
Even with campuses being closed, students don’t seem to be too concerned.
“SLCC is cheaper than other schools but it doesn’t feel cheap. It just feels like I’m in college and I’m getting a good education,” says Hunter.