California community college enrollment plummets to 30-year low: analysis
One of the nation’s largest community colleges is experiencing a severe enrollment decline with at least 6,000 fewer enrollments in the last year, according to the latest annual report to the Ohio Board of Regents.
In an analysis of data from the Ohio Student Aid Commission, researchers at UC Riverside determined that the number of students attending the four community colleges in the state fell by about 6,200 across the three years between the fall 2013 survey to the fall 2015 survey.
“It is a very serious situation and has to continue to be addressed as part of a larger strategic plan of the university that also involves the creation of the postsecondary center,” said Richard R. Zipperman, associate provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, who is coordinating on the postsecondary center project with the provost and faculty provosts.
The largest drop was reported at the Wittenberg-Madison campus in Hamilton County, where enrollment dropped by about 2,080 students.
The other three institutions that make up the Ohio Community College System saw enrollment drops of between 2,060 and 2,180.
“The four community colleges do not need to operate at the same level. The system needs to be restructured,” said Larry E. Green, chairman of the UC Riverside Board of Trustees, in an email to The Associated Press. “The current system does not provide opportunities for learning beyond the curriculum of their associate degree programs. They all need to be consolidated into a single system.”
If the Wittenberg-Madison campus had seen a larger decrease in enrollment, it would have meant that the system was losing about 6,300 students, or about 7 percent of its total enrollment.
The study is part of a larger, ongoing effort to analyze the nation’s public community colleges and determine their strengths and weaknesses, and to plan for their future.
The four Ohio community colleges have also been surveyed twice since the last two years, and are among the top five community college systems in the country, according to an analysis of annual reports from the U.S. Department of Education.
“Although they may seem small, the four community colleges are