Jobs, incomes, house prices and government revenues all may be declining, but California’s community colleges are seeing a sharp bump in enrollment – three times as great as the state budget anticipates and finances.
Jack Scott, chancellor of the community college system, says a survey found enrollments up at 103 of the state’s 110 two-year colleges with an overall gain of 6.4 percent, about 150,000 students, over last year.
“These enrollment reports are confirming what college leaders have been saying from the beginning of the academic year – the demand for community college education and training is surging,” Scott said. “With statewide unemployment at 11.2 percent, California’s displaced workers are pursuing the training they need to get back in the workforce. The colleges are also seeing more demand from students who were not able to enter the University of California or California State University due to restricted admissions.”
The current state budget provided financing for a 2 percent enrollment increase, meaning colleges are taking in students for which they lack direct financing. That, college officials said, means overflowing classrooms and long waiting lists for classes.