GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Community colleges in Eastern North Carolina are seeing an increase in students.

Beaufort County Community College will see around 2,300 credit students this year.

“That means students who are in course work that either transfers or is in for-credit,” said Dr. David Loope, president of BCCC. “We serve at least around 6,000 different students in continuing education in short-term workforce development, which is becoming increasingly important.”

Lenoir Community College is also seeing its numbers grow.

“Over the summer, we saw our enrollment increase,” said Dr. Timothy Maddox-Fisher, vice president of Instruction and Institutional Effectiveness at LCC. “We’re very happy about that, of course. And then as we’re looking into enrollment for the fall, we’re seeing our numbers up slightly as well.”

Loope says last year BCCC was up almost 12%, which is the largest increase the college has ever seen. They’re anticipating seeing around 7,500 to 8,000 total students.

“These folks are coming back and they’re older. They’re coming back to get better jobs, better socio-economic status here in the local region,” said Loope.

Loope also said the “Beaufort Promise Scholarship Program” has enabled people to gain access to college when they may not have been able to, playing a role in the increase of students.

Maddox-Fisher said driving factors at their college include a number of things. On the workforce development side, students can get their credentials to go into the workforce within several weeks or months. On the curriculum side, tuition is affordable.

“We have smaller class sizes. So the one-on-one interaction between the instructor and the student is critical for a lot of our students. So, several factors that play into that for sure,” said Maddox-Fisher.

Coastal Carolina Community College officials said they’re seeing a shift with students enrolling in more classes since the pandemic, which is due to affordability, flexibility, transferability and career training.