Enrollment at California Community Colleges fell even more last fall than an already shocking national average. Campus leaders hope to stem further declines as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The California Community College system had a 12 percent enrollment decline from fall 2019 to fall 2020 — a loss of 186,688 students — a staggering figure for the largest college system in the country and a likely harbinger of the demographic and fiscal challenges that lie ahead for the sector nationally.
The downward trend is occurring at community colleges across the country — the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center recently reported a 9.5 percent decline at community colleges nationwide — and is being compounded by the acute socioeconomic effects of the pandemic on students.
With more than two million full- and part-time students in the California system, the enrollment drop was not surprising to those familiar with demographic and economic trends community colleges are currently facing.