One of the largest U.S. community colleges has expanded course offerings and operating hours to accommodate a flood of new students, but cash-strapped state governments have forced other two-year colleges to slash class sections, even as student applications pour in at an unprecedented clip.

Bringing weekend classes to Portland Community College's four campuses in 2007 has paid dividends this year as the economic downturn has spurred a 21-percent enrollment jump. Underemployed and newly unemployed adults are hoping to bolster their resumes in the coming years, and the college's class sections on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays fit adults' busy schedules.

"We just...

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