California community college enrollment plummets amid pandemic, putting some campuses at risk

California
Following social distancing measures, a student picks up a laptop placed in the parking lot of Chaffey College on March 25, 2020, at the Chino, Calif., campus. According a press release, Chaffey College lent about 5,000 laptops to students as it transitioned most classes online amid the pandemic. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Following social distancing measures, a student picks up a laptop placed in the parking lot of Chaffey College on March 25, 2020, at the Chino, Calif., campus. According a press release, Chaffey College lent about 5,000 laptops to students as it transitioned most classes online amid the pandemic. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Across the state, from San Diego to the northern border, enrollments at many community colleges have plummeted during the pandemic, threatening the future of some campuses, the system’s Board of Governors has learned.

Systemwide, more than 260,000 fewer students enrolled in fall 2020 compared with fall 2019,a 16.8% drop. Enrollment in California’s community college system, the largest in the nation with about 2 million full- and part-time students, has largely been flat for the past decade.

Colleges that experienced significant drops could be at risk if they “don’t stabilize or build back enrollment” over the next several years, said Paul Feist, a spokesman for the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office, reiterating a warning that was delivered in a memo to the systemwide Board of Governors last month.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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