Lay Offs & Job Fears, Boosts College Enrollment

Robert Austin, Dean of Enrollment
Robert Austin, Dean of Enrollment

For fear of being laid off or getting a pay cut many local employees are heading back to college.

Both Amarillo College and West Texas A and M University say their Fall enrollment is skyrocketing. Graduate school applications are already double what they were last year at this time at WTAMU.

And Amarillo College, is seeing the same results in overall student enrollment. More area lay offs have been made in the last five months than the Texas Panhandle Workforce Commission tells me they saw the entire year prior.

And to find stability, many are turning to higher education.  Dr. Tim Atchison of WTAMU says, "That is a moment of fear and certainly a reevaluation of self."

WTAMU's graduate education dean says the poor economy is having some positive results.

"I firmly believe that having high quality graduate educated people in the community will provide better services, better care, for the individuals in our community," says Atchison.

He says health care, science, and education are seeing the largest growth. At Amarillo College, trade specific programs make up a majority of new applicants.

Dean of Enrollment Robert Austin says, "The fact that the programs are relatively modest in length, i think that makes a big difference because people are kind of looking at the light at the end of the tunnel."

Both colleges are still accepting applications for the Fall.

WTAMU Graduate Program 651-2730

Amarillo College 371-5024