Tough economic times means an increase in enrollment at Coffeyville Community College and it's Columbus Technical Campus.

Official enrollment numbers will not be available until September 9, but CCC said this week that they have seen an increase in enrollment at their main campus, Web-based classes, as well as their extension schools, including Columbus.

CCC Dean of Marketing Jill Koslosky said the Auto, Construction, and Business and Computers programs at the Columbus Technical Campus are all full.  She said the new Welding program in Columbus is also full.

While many of the students at the Columbus campus are high school students, the Welding and Business and Computers programs are mostly post-secondary students looking to increase their skill-set.

The increase in enrollment is "directly due to the economy" according to Koslosky.

"They are people who are being laid off from jobs, and deciding to change careers and they're deciding to come back to school," Koslosky explained.  "(Many are) people who have been in manufacturaing and deciding to come back."

Enrollment increasing due to a struggling economy is typical, especially at community colleges since the tuition is not as high as a four year university.

"The jobs that they're coming back to us - to be trained for - there are positions out there now."

As an example, Koslosky said the Welding faculty stay connected with the businesses and industry throughout the area, and especially the Kansas City area.  She said that students go to the main campus and the campus in Columbus to train, and if they do well the faculty members help them find jobs, typically out of the this area.

"You get what you work at," Koslosky said.  "(The welding instructor) isn't going to recommend a poor student.  The ones that come in, work hard - and most adults who come back for retraining are that way - they will help those guys get jobs."

Enrollment is up in the online program as well.  Koslosky said students can even take every course needed to get an Associate of Arts degree.  Because of the hands-on lab work needed, however, it is not possible to complete the entire Associate of Science on the Web.

But Koslosky said the school is working on that.

For those who have some prior experience in an office Koslosky said students can come in to Business and Computers and get certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist to show that they have the training as well.

And while Coffeyville Community College is helping train students to prepare for future jobs, the school had to hire a new person as well - to help with all the new guidelines for financial aid.

Koslosky said there are a lot of new guidelines for financial aid.

"They are so extensive that the college had to hire a new person to help," she said.

Some of the guidelines took affect this past August, and others will take affect next year, but there was one guideline change students need to take note of.

Koslosky said in the past Pell Grants were only available only for the Fall and Spring semesters.

Now, students can also get them for the Summer semester.