U.S. Markets open in 6 hrs 18 mins

Wyo. community college enrollment drops 4.4 pct.

Bob Moen, Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Enrollment in Wyoming's seven community colleges declined 4.4 percent in 2012-13 from the previous year's record, and officials attribute the drop to fewer high school graduates and fewer oil and gas workers moving to the state.

"In general terms ... after a number of years in recent history of pretty significant increases, we're now at a point where things have really leveled off," Jim Rose, executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission, said Tuesday.

According to statistics compiled by the Wyoming Community College System, 26,925 students attended the colleges based in Casper, Powell, Cheyenne, Rock Springs, Riverton, Sheridan and Torrington in 2012-13. In 2011-12, the system recorded 28,170 students.

Cayse Cummings, enrollment and finance auditor with the community college system, said enrollment in preceding years was bolstered by a high number of high school graduates in Wyoming and the number of people moving to the state for oil and gas work. In the last 10 years, community colleges have seen growth rates of up to 6 percent a year.

"We have kind of been a little flat in those areas," Cummings said. "Subsequently that is being reflected in the college enrollment."

Cheyenne-based Laramie County Community College had the most students last year with 6,190, followed by Casper College with 4,785 and Northern Wyoming Community District in Sheridan and Gillette with 4,523.

Western Wyoming Community College, which is based in Rock Springs, had 4,408 students, Central Wyoming College in Riverton had 2,535, Northwest College in Powell had 2,394, and Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington had 2,088.

All but Central Wyoming College, which gained 19 students, saw their enrollments drop last year.

Western Wyoming Community College posted the largest decrease in students with 531 fewer from the previous year, followed by Casper College with 260 fewer.

The 2012-13 statewide community college enrollment included 3,301 out-of-state students and 247 international students.

Casper College had the highest percentage of in-state students attending at 91 percent. Northwest College, near the Montana border, had the greatest percentage of out-of-state students at about 19 percent.

Each college had students from all 23 counties in the state. The only exception was Niobrara, which had no students attending Western Wyoming Community College.