SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

Ozarks Technical Community College says it's enrollment numbers are down but it's a reflection of the times and our economy.

School officials say "system wide which includes all of our campuses and centers, in southwest Missouri, we are down about 4.4 percent," says Mark Miller of Ozarks Technical Community College. "In Springfield alone we are down about 5.8 percent, to give that some context we are looking at our 3rd highest spring enrollment system wide of all-time," says Miller.

Officials say their administrators have addressed the drop in numbers but they are looking at a bigger picture.

Miller says the enrollment dip also points to another factor involving the state's education.

"Another factor here in Missouri is that the number of high school graduates here in Missouri over several years peaked in 2010 at about 70,000, this year we were down about 5,000 so there were about 5,000 fewer high school graduates in Missouri this year then there was in 2010."


Experts say community college enrollment is very unique. Studies show a poor economy means more people go back to school to be re-educated and get more job training.

Miller says the economy is improving, and community college enrollment will naturally dip as things improve.

However, not all OTC campuses have seen a dip in their numbers. The Table Rock Campus in Hollister, Missouri, which opened in the fall of 2013, is up by nearly 40 percent according to Miller.

This pattern of low enrollment numbers at the community college level also held true in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.