After a number of years of exponential growth seen at community colleges
across the country, that trend finally appears to be waning. Some attribute enrollment declines
to an improving economy, while others cite changes in federal legislation as potential reasons. No matter what the underlying cause of the shrinking numbers, one thing is certain: the community college flurry that occurred during the recent economic slowdown appears to be stabilizing.
Fewer Community College Students in Oklahoma this Year
Oklahoma is just one of many states seeing fewer community college students head to class this fall. According to a report at News OK
, most of the community colleges throughout Oklahoma are reporting enrollment drops as the academic year gets underway. During the past decade, enrollment in the state’s colleges shot up from around 88,000 students in 2000 to more than 117,000 by 2010. Much of that growth – around 16,000 students – occurred during 2009 and 2010: the years of economic recession
across the country.
College officials suspect the enrollment drop could be attributed to a number of factors, including an improved economy and changes to federal financial aid programs
. When the economy slowed and unemployment increased, many displaced workers returned to school to retrain for new industries that were still hiring workers
. As unemployment gradually stabilizes, many are now back to work and no longer in need of the additional training at this time.
Federal Programs May Contribute to Enrollment Decline in Michigan