NORTH CAROLINA – A total of 53 of our state's 58 community colleges experienced enrollment increases this academic year.

State leaders believe there are a number of reasons North Carolinians are going back to school.

They say people tend to take opportunities when the economy is in a downturn to change careers or learn new skills.

Community colleges are also expecting to welcome university students who aren't ready to return to campus living.

"I think we might see a shift away from the on campus residence hall experience and a shift toward more of a commuter campus where you can stay in your community," Alamance Community College VP of Instruction Connie Wolfe says.

Robeson Community College's enrollment grew the most last year at 21 percent.

Central Carolina Community College and Pamlico Community College are also seeing some of the biggest increases.