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Chesapeake College Cambridge Center enrollment surges 17 percent to record high

Posted on Friday, September 04, 2009

CAMBRIDGE – Chesapeake College’s Cambridge Center may be the hottest ticket in town.

The Center, which serves Dorchester County as well as the residents of southern Caroline and Talbot counties, is experiencing a 17 percent enrollment increase in both student headcount and total registrations. In fact, more than a dozen critical indicators that college officials monitor are showing double-digit increases over Fall 2008.

"We knew this was coming – we were busy just about all summer," said Bob Boettger, the Cambridge Center director who grew up in Cambridge and is a Chesapeake College graduate. "We’re feeling the increase in so many ways – closed classes, full parking lots and wall-to-wall people."

Dorchester County residents still comprise nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the 539 students taking courses at the Cambridge Center, with Dorchester headcount increasing 12 percent while going from 348 to 394. Increases in Caroline and Talbot County representation is also contributing to the enrollment boom, with Caroline student headcount rising 33 percent (from 44 to 58) and Talbot increasing 12 percent (from 59 to 66).

The fast-growing student age group is 23-to-29-year-olds, which rose 46 percent (from 68 to 99). The 40-to-59-year-old and 30-to-39-year-old age groups also featured double-digit growth, rising 29 and 16 percent, respectively, as the average student age rose from 26 to 27. Minority student growth was another key to the enrollment increase, with minority enrollment rising 23 percent and tying a 2003 record with 179 minority students.

"It’s great to see such a diverse group of students," said Boettger.

The Cambridge Center growth has helped the college achieve record enrollment. Chesapeake had 2,875 students enrolled as of Monday morning, a 9.2 percent headcount growth over last year’s record headcount. While a huge increase in full-time students has fueled the college’s overall Fall 2009 enrollment gains, the percent increase in the number of part-time students at the Cambridge Center (21 percent higher compared to last fall) is almost twice the rate of the Center’s full-time student growth (11 percent).

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