Community College Student Enrollment Declines Due to Pandemic

December 11, 2020

Share this

Title: Behind the Enrollment Numbers: How COVID-19 Has Changed Students’ Plans for Community College

Author: Clive Belfield and Thomas Brock

Source: Community College Research Center

A recent essay from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) notes that the pandemic tremendously impacted enrollment at community colleges. The authors analyzed results out of a random selection of 100,000 individuals who completed the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys related to COVID-19. Participants reported on “plans for community college” for at least one member of their household from August to mid-October 2020. Major findings from the analysis include:

  • Community colleges tend to represent more minority students and marginalized groups who face disproportionate impact across U.S. education, healthcare, and legal systems.
  • More than 40 percent of households who responded shared that a prospective student is cancelling their plan to enroll in a community college.
  • Fifteen percent noted a change in course taking, with some taking lighter course loads or switching programs.
  • Almost 40 percent of current community college students reported that losing their job negatively impacted their educational plans.
  • Households with students at community colleges were nearly twice as likely as households with students of four-year colleges to report that COVID-19 had changed their educational plans.

More in-depth information can be found in the U.S. Census Bureau survey and the CCRC essay.

—Ángel Gonzalez

If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, please contact us.

Keep Reading

Discovering Hidden Barriers to Community College Enrollment and Success

When students apply to a community college, they expect enrollment to be a clear, orderly process. Unfortunately, for far too many students, it feels more like a maze, full of unknown steps, unfamiliar terminology and unexpected delays.
David Bevevino of the Education Advisory Board looks at how community college student onboarding is like a game of Chutes and Ladders—and what institutions can do to change it.

October 24, 2016

It Begins with Difficult Conversations: How Community College Leaders Can Support Faculty-led Student Success Efforts

If community colleges want to make a difference in student persistence and attainment—and to make the improvement sustainable over time—these efforts must be led by those on campus who have the most frequent contact with students: the faculty. Carrie B. Kisker, a director of the Center for the Study of Community Colleges, looks at where to begin.

October 30, 2019

Erasing the Community College Stigma

ACE’s Jon Turk argues that community colleges are the solution to many of the challenges we face around higher education affordability, access, and success. But how do we convince students and families of their value?

June 26, 2019