The change is part of efforts in response to declining enrollment.
The Otero and Trinidad State Junior Colleges in Colorado are removing the "junior" from their names to reverse declining enrollment. Since the name change requires state legislation, Colorado lawmakers and school officials worked together to draft a bill to enact the following changes:
- Trinidad State Junior College will be Trinidad State College.
- Otero Junior College will be Otero College.
The third and only remaining junior college in Colorado, Northeastern Junior College, will keep the same name. The school was included in the original draft but was omitted from the final version due to community backlash. The entire bill is available to read here.
Lawmakers and officials hope the name change will attract more students to Otero and Trinidad. College officials at both schools claimed the term "junior college" has impeded recruitment efforts and gave students the impression that they were not as acclaimed as other colleges. With the word "junior" removed, officials can better market the school and recruit students.
The term "junior," another name for a community college, was popular in the early 20th century. Since then, enrollment at junior colleges across the country has dropped immensely, so many schools have dropped the term, and only 15 remain in the United States. Enrollment at Otero has declined by 43% in the last 10 years, while enrollment at Trinidad State has dropped by 31%.
In addition to changing the name, Colorado state officials are working with Otero and Trinidad to focus the majors offered to give students more learning opportunities in good jobs, like nursing, information technology, and energy.
Both schools reside in rural parts of Colorado: Otero in La Junta and Trinidad State near the New Mexico border. These communities' economies rely on students attending these schools, so reversing the enrollment trend is becoming more critical.
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