Community colleges see an increase in full-time enrollment

Orange County community colleges saw an increase in full-time enrollment last year, though their total enrollment numbers were hit.

The region’s nine community colleges reported total enrollment fell 1.5% to 121,822 this year, according to this week’s Business Journal listing.

This follows a 10% drop from last year’s roster; two years ago, the decline was 21%.
The decline in local listings is part of a national decline.

Community colleges across the country saw a 7.8% drop in enrollment from a year ago, according to an education data firm National Clearinghouse Research Center.

Saddleback College at Mission Viejo, this year saw the largest drop in part-time and total enrollment. Part-time enrollment fell 24% to 9,647, while total enrollment fell 16% to 16,218, a continuation of its 38% drop from the previous year.

The decline, according to Orange County Community College District of South Orange Head of Communications Letitia Clarkfollows the national trend of people postponing their studies, an effect of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

“People are focusing on family demands rather than their education in these trying times,” she told the Business Journal.

Shrinking family sizes, an aging population and rising cost of living in Orange County are also contributing to declining community college enrollment in the region, Clark said.

Average rent in Anaheim, Orange County’s largest city by population, rose 11% year-over-year to an average of $3,381 per unit, according to a report in April. by the property market tracker. Redfin Corp. (Nasdaq: RDFN).

OC is “a more affluent area, so it’s harder to live here,” Clark said. “It contributes to food and housing insecurity. When we have these factors it is sometimes difficult to grow a population where we see students [continue their education].”

California State University, Fullerton President Forward Virjee also saw a drop in community college transfer requests to CSUF for the same economic reasons.

Community college students “often have more demanding financial obligations to care for their families,” he told the Business Journal (see article, page 1).

All figures for colleges on the list report only students enrolled in credit and unit classes, except for Santiago Canyon College.

The majority decline

Five of OC’s community colleges reported a decline in total enrollment.

Three of five—Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Fullerton College and Irvine Valley College— saw the inscription
decreases ranging from 2% to 3%.

Cypress College saw the second-largest decline in enrollment this year, an 8% drop to 12,740. Its part-time enrollment fell 18% to 7,537.

“When there are a lot of jobs available and we have a very low unemployment rate, our registration suffers. People are working, they are postponing their studies because they have a job,” said the president of Cypress College. JoAnna Schilling told the Business Journal.

“When there are jobs, people tend to drop out of school and often come back later when the job market isn’t as strong.”

On the rise

Four other OC community colleges reported increases.

Subscribe to Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa jumped 15% to 16,568, while Coastal College in Fountain Valley rose 10% to 9,308. Both colleges, as well as Golden West Collegebelong to the Coast Community College District.

Santiago Canyon College in Orange recorded a 2.8% increase in total enrollment to 14,484.

To further increase enrollment, the college launched a marketing campaign targeting students who want to earn an associate’s degree while attending high school, a market the school has yet to fully tap into.

According to the interim president of Santiago Canyon College Enrique Perez“double registration [in high school and community college] is not for everyone. It’s for that student who is really motivated and really looking to get an associate’s degree.

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