Dutchess Community College says enrollment is
down from last year.

A college representative says 4,855 students are
enrolled for the fall semester, which is better than the once anticipated 20%

“For me, it’s about providing opportunity to
individuals who want an education to improve their lives,” says Dr. Ellen Gambino, of Dutchess Community College.

News 12 is told the college also noticed 11% fewer
new students enrolling, which is less than the 16% decline seen in other
community colleges statewide.

While COVID-19 is still impacting higher education,
officials say it’s also making people look at the bigger picture when it comes
to funds.

Dr. Gambino, who also serves as acting president of Dutchess Community
College, says enrolling in community colleges as opposed to other
institutions may be the best fiscally responsible option.

“If people are spending tens of thousands of
dollars for students to go away to college, that’s a tremendous investment when
they’re really not getting anymore out of it than they would have if they had
stayed home,” says Dr. Gambino. “Tuition at Dutchess is only $4,350.”

Dutchess Community says it plans to begin
coronavirus surveillance testing soon and that the campus is currently
only open to students and staff for certain courses.

Vassar College, also in the area, reports 145
fewer students enrolled this year, compared to 2019.