Struggling economics spark rise in higher ed. enrollment

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Several area colleges and universities are reporting a spike in enrollment. They say it's due to the struggling economy.

Birmingham Southern College now has the largest undergraduate enrollment in school history, and Samford University is also seeing a record enrollment among undergraduates and graduate students.

Collegiates say they're concerned about the job market, and know an education is more valuable than ever.

"I want to stay in school as long as possible," said Birmingham Southern Junior Chelsie Miller, "I don't want to try and get a job yet."

Birmingham Southern President David Pollick say during uncertain times, attending a school like Birmingham Southern is a smart decision.

"The world will be a new normal," said Pollick, "We all know that, so how do you prepare a young man or woman for that? A liberal arts education is absolutely the finest choice."

And at Samford, officials say they are seeing a lot of interest in their graduate programs.

"What we've also found is adult students are re-tooling," said Vice President of Student Affairs at Samford Phil Kimrey, "They are getting an advanced degree, they are doing their best to better themselves in the workplace."

Students said they hope that their decision to go to school pays off in the long run.

"I'm worried that it will get worse before I graduate," said Samford Freshman Joanna Reynolds, "I don't want to waste my parents money for coming to college. Hopefully everything will improve by the time I'm out."

UAB and the University of Alabama have not released enrollment numbers yet.