Down economy has adults seeking schools

IRVINE, Calif. Quiana Starr is back in school after being laid off. Six months later, she got another full-time job but still wanted to get her master's degree in human resources management. She decided to attend Brandman University in Irvine.

"It's definitely tailored to working adults, which these days it's hard especially when you have children," said Starr.

Starr is taking one night course on campus and two online courses.

"Brandman University offers classes in the classroom and online so students can have the opportunity to select what's most convenient for them," said Brandman University chancellor Gary Brahm.

Officials say about 40 percent of all college enrollment are non-traditional students, meaning people who can't go to a traditional college or university full time either because they work full time or because of personal obligations.

Many students still have a job but want to gain more skills.

"Given current economic conditions, and with the job market the way it is, it's important that we can get a new skill set, or tune up skills we already have," said Charles Lisanti, a Brandman student.

Brandman University, a non-profit institution, is part of the Chapman University system.

Its online courses are so popular that Brandman plans to add several more online degrees by the fall of 2010, including bachelor's and master's degrees courses in business administration.

With just one more semester, Starr will have her degree, which is something that she hopes will give her more options in this tough economy.

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