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Driven by increases in the numbers of full-time students at its community colleges, the State University of New York reported Wednesday that this fall's freshman class is the largest in 11 years.

The total of 61,293 students enrolling as full-time freshmen reflects an increase of nearly 6 percent over last year's figure. Overall, full-time student enrollment of 245,996 was an increase of 3.8 percent from last fall's total.

The 30 SUNY community colleges reported enrollment increases of 5,663 students, also a 6 percent increase from fall 1998. Among the campuses reporting enrollment increases of 10 percent or more from last year were Jamestown, 18.3 percent; North Country, 12.8; Broome, 12.4; Hudson Valley, 11.8; Nassau, 11.8; and Rockland and Monroe, each 10.

Various factors make community colleges increasingly popular, SUNY spokesman Jon Sorensen said. Tuition has been stable at the two-year colleges, and higher state-aid levels have allowed schools to improve course offerings. Some youths are also holding onto jobs they started in high school by going to college locally.

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