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Enrollment is soaring at Highline Community College

The numbers are up at Highline Community College. Way up.

Enrollment has skyrocketed at the two-year school in Des Moines. They are already up 13 percent over this time last year. The summer quarter at Highline was also a record setter, with over 7,460 students taking classes.

Fall quarter will begin on Sept. 21, and with four weeks left to register, the numbers are still rising.

Highline is an open-access institution, so there is no admissions deadline for students and enrollment can continue until the day before classes start.

Highline officials are expecting their numbers to continue to climb.

Currently the school has 6,192 registered, compared to last year at this time, when 5,534 students had registered for classes.

The biggest increase is coming in the worker retraining program, spokeswoman Lisa Skari said. Currently there are 425 worker retraining full-time equivalent students signed up at Highline, an increase of close to 110 percent from last fall. Those are students who are going back to school to retrain in another field.

International student numbers are also up, about 7 percent at 364, and running start numbers are up as well — 11 percent higher than last year at 644.

However this increase in numbers is causing some concern. Highline received a $2.1 million budget reduction this past year, resulting in the closing of the Federal Way campus and the Highline daycare program.

“We are serving more students with less money,” Skari said. “This means students may not get the class or instructor at the time they want, or if they wait too long to register, the classes they want might be already full. The tight budget also limits our ability to add classes, even though we have student demand for those classes. It is ironic, and unfortunate, that we are able to do the least when students want us the most.”

Another number that has increased for Highline is their financial aid applications.

The Financial Aid Office has reported a 125 percent increase in completed financial aid files, up from 1,133 files last year to 2,554 this year.

Over 1,000 students have been awarded financial aid so far this year, up from 400 students this time last year.

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