Many of Missouri’s colleges and universities are seeing increased enrollments for the fall semester despite economic conditions that might make higher education less affordable. Anecdotal reports from community and four-year colleges indicate larger freshman classes than a year ago. Finding housing for the increased numbers of students is a problem in some campuses. Assistant Commissioner of Higher Education Leroy Wade says the biggest gins seem to be among community colleges. Some people are looking for new lives after losing jobs. Others are trying to save money by going to community college for two years before transferring to a university for the other two years.

Wade says the students know finances will be tight and post-graduation debts might be high…but they can’t afford NOT to go. “I assume that’s the conversation that’s occurring around the kitchen tables with parents and students,” he says.

The department says the average debt carried by a Missouri college graduate is 19-thousand dollars.

Leroy Wade and Bob Priddy talk it over 3:35 .mp3