Community College Enrollment Surges as Economy Sags

Victor M.H. Borden
Indiana University

Last year’s analysis of the Fastest Growing Community Colleges began with a reference to the national economic collapse that was just over a year in progress. Because the analysis relies on national data that is available about a year after the fact, I noted that we could not yet discern the impact of the recession on enrollment at the nation’s community and technical colleges. We noted last year an enrollment growth between 2007 and 2008 of just over 5 percent for the sector, compared to just below 5 percent growth in overall postsecondary enrollments.

In this year’s analysis, we examine enrollment change for the year during which the recession was in full swing and, according to technical measures, ended… Read More 

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2 Responses to Community College Enrollment Surges as Economy Sags

  1. I appreciate work that you have put into this page. Genuinely and informative..

  2. Ian Watson says:

    Completion Rates Forecast to Drop as Enrollment Surges
    Community Colleges need to focus on student choices rather than managing the cost.
    Unsuitable student choices have a large impact on completion rates and money wasted.
    Increasing completion rates reduces costs per graduate – how to do this?
    Completion rates are impacted by poor initial choices.
    Students changing careers are even more likely to try something new, rather than suitable or attainable.
    They need more help to make a choice that will more likely lead to graduation.
    They need more help to study for a career they would like, after graduation.
    This requires a more structured approach to course selection in the 1st place.
    Better input will produce better outcomes.
    Students need to know more about their chosen career/course so they can better gauge their aptitude and liking for that career and the opportunities available.
    Colleges would like to know more about a potential students aptitude and liking for a course to reduce wasted effort and promote completion rates.
    With enrolment pressure, Colleges now have the opportunity to impose, suggest or recommend potential students undertake pre-enrolment overviews or work experience of their desired courses.
    Attrition means that Colleges usually have capacity late in the semester to offer short programs for students and Colleges to assess choices for next semester.
    These programs could be 2-3 hours over 2 days to provide a flavour of the courses offered and an opportunity for assessment to gauge suitability for enrolment.
    Some institutions may be able to charge a fee for these programs, others may have the facilities and Instructors available anyway due to attrition.
    Colleges may be able to engage alumni or local businesses and institutions and services to provide overviews or places for work experience for potential students.
    College student intakes are huge, and it’s difficult to focus on student choices.
    However, the downside of inaction is significant wasted effort and costs for the students as well as the College and community as a whole.

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