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Enrollment lagging at state’s community colleges

The Ocean Campus of the Community College of San Francisco
Alan Cordova
Flickr / Creative Commons
The Ocean Campus of the Community College of San Francisco

Forty-two colleges saw enrollment declines between 2020 and 2021 but less than 20 of California's more than 100 community colleges have seen the enrollment grow during this same time, according to a CalMatters analysis of system enrollment data.

System-wide, enrollment at the state’s community colleges is now 300-thousand students, as of the fall semester.

Gov. Gavin Newsom now wants to send another $150 million to community colleges to further recruit more students. CalMatters says the expected return on investment is unclear.

The pipeline of California public school students is getting smaller. The public K-12 system is projected to shrink by nearly 600,000 students in eight years. California's overall population has been either stagnant or in slight decline. Colleges, CalMatters reports, will have to work harder to keep their student populations steady.

Enrollment growth will have to come from more adults who aren't recent high-school graduates. That’s about three million 25-to-54-year-olds – who already have some college, but no degree.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.