The last year and a half have been difficult for all of us, but perhaps most difficult for young people who were already at a transition point in their lives. The decision to go to college is a major one even in a normal year, and one that should not be made lightly. Throwing a global pandemic into the mix complicated the situation for thousands of students, many of whom put their college plans on hold.
Now that the pandemic is slowly getting under control, experts and educators alike wonder whether we’ll see a return to normalcy in the world of academia. Thousands of students who chose to take a gap year may or may not return and, even if they did, the college experience may not be what it once was.
In this article, we’ll explore the subject of declining enrollment in the aftermath of the pandemic along with a worsening problem – the gender gap.
Community College Enrollment Pre-Pandemic
While the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic was discovered in 2019, its global impact wasn’t truly felt until 2020. To understand the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s education system, we need to first take a look at enrollment data prior to the pandemic.
According to data from the Provisional National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), roughly 8.2 million undergraduates were enrolled in two-year public colleges for the 2018-19 school year. In the fall of 2019, 5.5 million students were enrolled – about 1.9 million full-time and 3.6 million
As of April 2021, the unemployment rate in the United States was 6.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While numbers have significantly improved over the past year, there were still an estimated 9.8 million people unemployed – this is compared to a 3.5% unemployment rate with 5.7 million unemployed persons in February of 2020. Though the job market is slowly recovering, 2021 college graduates will need to be patient and flexible as they start their job search.
The COVID-10 pandemic caused millions to lose their jobs and many to start working from home. While some companies have started to transition back to in-office work, many processes are still being carried out virtually – including the hiring process. As a community college graduate, you may find your job search looks different than graduates who came before you.
Read on to learn some simple tips for finding a job and how to ace a remote job interview.
10 Simple Job Search Tips for Graduates
Even in a non-pandemic year, graduating from community college and looking for a job can be stressful. Your first job out of school may not be your dream job, but it’s a steppingstone in the path that leads to a successful career. Though things are certainly improving, the economy isn’t what it was a year and a half ago and the job market hasn’t fully recovered.
With millions of jobseekers out there, your job search may be a little longer and more challenging than it normally might be.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the country hard, but it has been particularly difficult for America’s working class. Low-wage jobs were eliminated by the millions and people without college degrees faced the highest rates of unemployment. Over a year into the pandemic, community colleges – the education system created to help America’s working class – continue to struggle.
According to data from the National Student Clearinghouse, enrollment has declined by nearly 10% at over 1,000 two-year colleges since last spring. Added to a similar drop in enrollment last fall, these numbers more than double the decline in enrollment seen at four-year colleges and universities. Enrollment has declined even more sharply among Black and Hispanic students.
These numbers hint at the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected community colleges and highlight the challenges these schools face if they are to survive. Keep reading to learn more about the current state of community colleges in the U.S. and what the future may hold for them.
Which States Have Been Hit Hardest?
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t left a single corner of the world untouched but under the Trump administration the United States saw millions of deaths which left the country in shock. Around the country, students were forced to choose between abandoning their plans and enroll in college or accept an altered version involving remote education. Nearly half of all American households report that a prospective college student cancelled their plans to attend community college in the fall of 2020. Families with prospective
In certain circles, community colleges are looked down upon. Some believe a community college degree is somehow less valuable than one earned at a traditional four-year college or university. Many believe, however, that community colleges are the “cornerstone of American higher education.” As the country works to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, they may be more important now than ever.
Community colleges enroll nearly half of all college students and provide educational opportunities some students would otherwise not be able to access. They play a role in workforce development, local economic development, and vocational training.
The coronavirus pandemic that has stretched into the summer of 2020 has changed the face of the American education system at all levels. As we look ahead to the 2020-21 school year, thousands of students find themselves wondering what their postsecondary education is going to look like. In these times of change, community colleges are becoming more important than ever before.
The Role of Community Colleges
The significance of community college is right there in the name – community. Steven Mintz of Inside Higher Ed suggests, “community colleges have a critical role to play in addressing the country’s greatest challenges: stagnant family incomes, disparities in income and wealth, and political polarization.” These institutions play a significant role in their communities and in the greater educational system.
These are some of the most important roles community colleges play:
- Workforce development
- Local and regional economic development
- Technical and vocational training
- Human capital formation
- Low-cost gateway to higher education
- Community service
Though many in the educational community
Colleges and universities across the nation have been financially impacted by COVID-19 in numerous ways. From forced housing refunds to declining enrollment and loss of revenue, many community colleges find themselves wondering what the 2020/21 semester will look like – if they have one.
In this article, we’ll explore the financial impact of COVID-19 on community colleges and what they are doing to make up for lost funds. We’ll also touch on predictions for enrollment in the 2020/21 school year and examine the data we’ve already collected regarding the impact of the pandemic on community colleges as well as their faculty and students.
How Have Budget Cuts Affected Community Colleges?
Though the novel coronavirus had already taken hold in numerous countries by then, the World Health Organization (WHO) didn’t announce COVID-19 as a global health crisis until March 11, 2020. Within weeks, thousands of businesses closed their doors and millions of college students were sent home.
Schools around the country scrambling to take their programs online were met with the additional challenge of unequal access to resources among their students. For thousands of students, the college experience was significantly altered and not everyone took it in stride. Several colleges were sued by students in search of tuition refunds and many colleges were forced to provide housing refunds, often toe the tune of over $1,500 per student.
Now that most colleges and universities have officially completed their 2019/20 school year, colleges are left wondering what the next will bring. Many schools find themselves