The pandemic and ensuing recession have led to predictions that community college enrollment could grow this year. Already, some colleges are seeing proof of that.
Many of North Carolina’s community colleges are seeing jumps in summer enrollment, compared to last year. Wake Technical Community College is one of the colleges with increased enrollments.
“We are seeing a lot of people who have lost jobs, or had reduced job hours, looking for opportunities for training, education, and ways to get back into the workforce,” Brian Gann, vice president of enrollment and student services at Wake Tech, told CBS 17.
But resources could be stretched thin as the state is facing a $4 billion shortfall, which means less money for public higher education institutions.
Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland has seen an increase in summer enrollment and President Sandra Kurtinitis is expecting fall enrollments to be up, as well.
“We’ve been hearing from families who are a little reluctant to send their students back to Colorado or Austin or wherever, talking about what’s become a popular term: ‘a gap year,’” Kurtinitis said in this Daily Record article. “But, not a gap year necessarily where you would just sit out and watch television or play video games or a gap year where you might do some kind of altruistic work.”
The number of continuing and returning students enrolling at Houston Community College (HCC) has increased for the summer.
As 1.5 million Texans have filed for unemployment, HCC also has launched a new initiative, JobsNowHouston.org, to showcase in-demand occupations and the accelerated certificate programs offered by the college needed to obtain these jobs. HCC is taking a data-centric approach to identify classes and trade skill opportunities to fit immediate and future job openings.
“COVID-19 has challenged us all, forcing us to rethink every facet of education and community responsiveness,” HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado said in this release. “JobsNowHouston.org will connect people with the resources they need to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to compete in our new workforce and is a great example of how everyone at Houston Community College is working even harder to provide training and education to fill in- demand jobs.”
In Virginia, Germanna Community College, saw an untick in enrollment during the pandemic, as well: a 30 percent increase in summer enrollment over this time last year, according to Germanna President Janet Gullickson.
She told the Orange County Review that the college typically picks up “a fair number of what we call ‘transient’ students,” and with the pandemic, there may be more of those transient students looking to continue their education.