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Think Out Loud

Dollars and Sense

Pete Springer/OPB

This winter there are 1,488 more students at Portland Community College than in the term before. Admissions are also up at other post-secondary institutions across the state — and the country. According to a recent CNN report, 75 colleges across the country have reported double-digit enrollment increases this semester. It is a fairly common belief that when the economy suffers, people go back to school. But why? To retrain for a new career? To sharpen current skills? Or just because the have nothing else to do?

Eastern Oregon University recently held a “back to school night” which was mostly attended by people who were employed, but concerned about their future, and people who were already unemployed. The common thread was that everyone was hoping for future stability. Business, health care, and education degrees topped the list of what people were interested in studying.

But of course going back to school does cost money. Abby Sewell answered a query of ours on Facebook:

Yup. I am, in fact, going back to school. Not entirely but largely because of the economy. Much like the stimulus package, we’ll have to see if it does any good or just gets me in more debt.

Is the economy sending you back to school? What financial considerations did you deal with to come to that decision? Have you lost your job but found community college? Or are you using this as a time to finally go back to complete your degree? If you’ve recently gone back to school, what do you plan to study, and why?


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