After years of planning, the Erie County Community College is now open for enrollment.

According to Erie County Community College President Christopher Gray, the school will initially offer three associate degree programs, when classes begin in the fall.

Students can obtain a two-year degree in liberal arts, information technology network systems, or management and entrepreneurial thinking.

“You’re going to find what makes the community college unique, is we’re going to offer all sorts of classes,” said Gray. “From English, philosophy, and world religions, to eventually we’ll offer things in welding, eventually automotive, perhaps agriculture, we’re going to offer training that will lead right into jobs.

Classes will be offered at the Saint Benedictine Education Center in downtown Erie, and the Corry Higher Education Council in Corry.

The community college will also offer science courses at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, and technical courses at Erie County Technical School.

“We're going to allow people to get high technical skills, skilled labor, high paying, in-demand jobs,” said Gray. “It's going to make a significant impact. It's going to allow us to recruit more businesses to Erie which means we're all going to have an opportunity to thrive."

The Erie County Community College is expected to receive $1.75 million dollars in American Rescue Plan funding.

Since the school is not yet accredited, they money will be uses to pay for the tuition of eligible students.

Tuition for students is expected to cost an estimated $2,200 a semester, for 12 credits.

“Our tuition runs about $160.00 a credit hour,” said Gray. “Most classes are three credit hours, so if you break that down, you’ll find that’s typically about one-third the cost of most state institutions.”

The Erie County Community College plans to open on September 1.

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.