California community colleges eye a different future amid pandemic disruption

Friday, November 18, 2022

Enrollment at California’s community colleges has dropped to its lowest level in 30 years, new data show. The stark decline has educators scrambling to find ways to meet the changing needs of students who may be questioning the value of higher education as they emerge from the harsh pandemic years. Community college students tend to skew older than traditional university students and come from lower-income backgrounds. More than 65% are working more than part time. A survey of former California community college students found that one-third haven’t re-enrolled because they’ve prioritized work. At the same time, 22% said they have prioritized taking care of family or other dependents. Another 29% said they struggled to keep up with their classes. The survey was conducted by the RP Group, a nonprofit research center.

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