As enrollment drops at traditional universities, technical colleges are seeing more interest

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Fewer high school graduates are enrolling in traditional four-year colleges nationwide, according to the National Center for Education.

While UW system campuses are seeing an increase in new students, overall enrollment is still down. In Wisconsin, enrollment at state universities dropped by about 1% compared to last fall, according to new estimates from the UW system. Nine out of 13 UW campuses saw enrollment fall between 3% and 6%, including UW-Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, technical colleges are tracking different trends.

"Right now, our numbers are slightly higher than they have been over the last few years," said Sarah Adams, dean of enrollment services at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Adams says the changing economy could be a contributing factor in the spike in interest.

"At MATC students have the ability to go into short-term programs, certificates, one-year programs, one-semester programs, two-year programs, we offer such a variety for students," said Adams.

This could be an indication that the future of higher education is shifting to meet the demands of the labor market as schools like MATC provide flexibility.

"When they want to come here and immediately go into the job market, we have that availability for them to be able to do that," said Adams.

She also says more high schools are taking the time to inform students of the variety of options available to them after graduation.

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