WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) –Jefferson Community College had something to celebrate on the first day of the spring semester.

On January 23, classes were back in session on the Watertown campus and for the first time in a decade, enrollment has increased, according to JCC Administrator-in-Charge Dr. Dan Dupee.

“We’ve been dropping significantly since 2012, most community colleges have been down since around that time,” Dr. Dupee. “This is the first time we’ve seen even a little bit of an uptick. Even in the fall semester, we were down 1.5%, year over year.”

As of the first day of classes, enrollment was up just over 1%.

Dupee said he believes this rise was partially due to relaxed restrictions coming out of the pandemic.

“It comes back to the students want to be on campus, they want to be in the classroom,” he said. “Now that we’re getting back to that, people are feeling more comfortable being in public spaces, being in classrooms. I think we’re seeing the benefit of that right now.”

Some of the newer students said they were excited to get back to campus following the winter break.

“It feels great,” Freshman Liberal Arts Student Olivia Cratsenberg shared. “We’ve been a part for at least a month now, so it’s really awesome to see each other again.

Students also shared their anticipation for new classes.

“I’m interested in learning about what laws and guidelines there are for small businesses,” First-Year Business Student Michael McLaughlin said. “Because it’s just fun to learn about.”

Dr. Dupee added that this enrollment increase will help keep JCC’s doors open for years to come.

“We’re just excited to get everybody back here and really let the students get in the classroom, hear what they’re looking for and we’ll continue to provide all the services that we’ve been able to provide over the last few years,” Dupee stated.