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      Community Colleges - Pt. 2

      Whether you're 18 and just out of high school or you're in your 30s or 40s, more of you are attending community colleges. It's a nationwide trend, partially caused by our depressed economy.

      Being a working mom is a full-time job, but one local mother of two is also working to get a college degree.

      Last fall, Brandy Bougie enrolled in the Office Systems; Administrative Assistant program at Bay College, not only to set an example for her girls, but to better herself financially, which she feels comes with an education.

      "After a couple years, I realized that the best thing to do was to go back and get a degree," explained Brandy. "An education is needed to get a better paying job."

      Brandy is part of the growing demographic at Bay. More adults are returning to college, most of them, officials say, driven by the declining economy.

      "The interesting thing is that we had a 30 percent increase with our students between the ages of 26 and 49, which we feel probably is a result of the unemployment we've experienced here in the state of Michigan," said Bay College President, Laura Coleman.

      But that's not the only demographic on the rise. Recent recipients of a high school diploma, like Deborah Hopp, are also heading to community colleges. National statistics show they now make up about 47 percent of the community college population.

      They're coming not only for convenience, but also because it's a cheaper option, especially if you're unsure of your career path.

      "I didn't know what I wanted to do at first and I just wanted to come and get my Gen Ed's out of the way, and that way I would concentrate on something else--my degree; when I thought of it, at a four-year college," said Hopp.

      And Bay's not the only one seeing the increase. Officials at Gogebic Community College say their out of high school population is also on the rise. In fact, this is the first year they've filled their student housing on campus to capacity.