Some Bay Area community colleges see 20% enrollment drop, data shows

ByMelanie Woodrow and Grace Manthey KGO logo
Friday, December 16, 2022
Some Bay Area community colleges see 20% enrollment drop, data shows
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In the Bay Area, community college enrollment decreased at several schools by more than 20% in the 2021-2022 school year compared to 2018-2019.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There were approximately 419,000 fewer students at California community colleges last school year compared to the 2018-2019 school year, according to an ABC7 analysis of data from the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.

In the Bay Area, enrollment decreased at several schools by more than 20%, including at Contra Costa College. The school had 11,591 students in 2018-2019 compared to to 9,070 students in 2021-2022, a 22% decrease.

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Dr. Kimberly Rogers is the acting president at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California.

"So while our numbers are still below the numbers of 2018 and 2019, we have mounted a small comeback so we are seeing more students enroll of all ages," said Dr. Rogers.

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Dr. Rogers suspects that the COVID-19 pandemic along with construction on the school's new science center completed in April may have stopped some people from enrolling.

Santa Rosa Junior College saw a 27% decrease in students in 2021-2022 compared to 2018-2019.

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SRJC president Dr. Frank Chong says he believes creating affordable student housing will help increase enrollment.

"So it has become increasingly unaffordable for families to live in Sonoma County and that's why we built in my background we're building and completing a five-story, 352 bed student residence hall which is quite unique for community colleges, which typically are commuter schools," said Dr. Chong.

Dr. Chong says it's also a matter of investing in programs students need and want.

"We know that a lot of students and I talk to in the community want to come back to school and we just have to make it as simple and as easy for them to do that," he continued.

Across California, the largest loss was among students aged 50 and up, a 32% drop from the pre-pandemic school year. Younger students ages 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 also saw large drops.

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Among racial and ethnic groups, Native American students saw the largest percent decrease, at 29%, followed by Filipino students at a 26% drop, Black students at 25% and White students at 21%.

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"I'm not at all surprised. We saw similar numbers in our populations and it really is about going out and being sure that we have culturally, racially relevant materials and orientations when it comes to getting those students back," said Dr. Rogers.

Take a look at more stories by the ABC7 News I-Team.

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