Community colleges innovate to stay competitive

Capital News Service
LANSING – Community colleges are finding new ways to compete with for-profit colleges to enroll and retain more part-time and working students. Those efforts, including one at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, come at a time when community college enrollments are dipping while for-profit enrollments are rising. Over the past year, enrollment at community colleges dropped for the first time in several years, from a high of 260,179 in 2010 to 250,399 now, according to the Michigan Community College Association. However, enrollment in the state’s degree-granting, for-profits rose from 21,185 in 2004 to 30,193 in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Donald Heller, dean of the Michigan State University College of Education and an expert on higher education policy, said the growth of for-profits like the University of Phoenix and Everest Institute is largely due to their flexibility.