As economy rises, community college enrollment falls - and staff cuts follow

      EUGENE, Ore. - Lane Community College's student population is falling, and administrators say cuts are needed to keep the school healthy.

      During the recession, the student body grew by 43 percent.

      More staff were brought on, and class sections were added.

      But in the last year, things have changed.

      With more jobs available, an increasing number of residents are opting out of school, and returning to work.

      In 2013, enrollment at LCC decreased by 8.6 percent.

      Class sections will be cut back, but the 430 part-time faculty members will also take a hit.

      LCC President Mary Spilde said that while her staff has always been top-notch, hard decisions need to be made.

      "Employees went up to accommodate the enrollment, so we're going to have to bring that down because there simply isn't the demand. Not every part time faculty member will have the schedule they want or even perhaps any schedule going forward," Spilde said.

      Spilde said $2 million has already been chopped from this year's budget, and funding next year will drop an addition $6 million to $9 million depending on enrollment.

      Students who have chosen to stay in school hope the economy continues to do well so a job is ready for them when they do graduate.

      "I'm scared," Charmaine Sperry said. "I don't know how I'm going to pay back the loans. I don't know there will be a job out there. My degree will at least say this lady put some time into learning some stuff."