This year California community colleges have seen enrollment increases, according to results of a survey conducted by the California Community Colleges and released just a few days ago by the community college system’s chancellor’s office
The survey data show that colleges are making good progress in restoring course offerings. Due in part to Proposition 30, a tax measure Gov. Jerry Brown pushed and rallied for, and which ultimately received voter approval last November, state college budgets now are in a healthier state.
This year’s numbers show a median percentage of 2.5 percent increase in enrollment at community colleges across the state, and a 5 percent increase in the number of sections offered. Last year at this time colleges were preparing themselves for dreaded budget cuts that resulted in a disappointing 4.9 percent enrollment decline, while course sections reduced by 3.3 percent. Although those cuts were bad enough, the situation would have been far worse if Prop 30 had not won voter approval.
The survey measured full-time equivalent students at the 95 colleges that responded to the survey, which was sent to the state’s 112 community colleges. The focus was on survey results at a media teleconference held last week at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento.
Chancellor Brice W. Harris said, “Thanks to the passage of Proposition 30 last year, our community colleges now have the fiscal confidence to increase course offerings.” He added, “Colleges are operating in a more stable financial environment and can better serve students. This survey shows we are on the mend, but we have a lot more work to do to get back to the level of service we offered before the recession hit.”
Prior to Prop 30’s passage, community college funding had seen a drastic $1.5 billion cut between 2007-2008 and 2011-2012. The consequences were severe, with a 24 percent decline in course sections system-wide during that period, and a drop in student enrollment from 2.9 million to 2.3 million in 2012-2013.
The California Community College system is the largest higher education system in the nation, with 112 colleges in 72 districts, and serving 2.3 million students per year. Community colleges are amazing places, as there is no other educational facility that offers the workforce training and basic skills English and math courses that community colleges offer the communities in which they serve. As the nation’s largest community college system, a large portion of the state’s future workforce depends on the educational advantages at as low a cost as possible that the California system extends. The system’s growth and ultimate survival is vital not only to its students but also to the state of California as well.
* Become a subscriber and stay in touch with my information updates!