In Year of Crises, Community College Enrollment Declines

Crises on multiple fronts are causing a decline in California community college enrollment. On Monday, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said he expects a fall enrollment reduction of 5% to 7%.

Some community colleges have seen the number of new students drop by double digits, according to EdSource. These include Los Angeles Southwest (-20%), Santa Rosa Junior College (-19.47%), Los Angeles Trade-Tech (-16%), and Chaffey College (-15%).

In other states, the problem appears to be even worse. The Alabama Community College system has seen a 29% drop. Community colleges in Pennsylvania could record declines of up to 30%.

Michelle Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, said virtual learning is a big part of the equation.

“While many of us are tech-savvy, there’s really a sense that students want to be in the classroom,” she told EdSource. “This could be a lost generation because typically students who drop out or don’t enroll in college don’t go back.”

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