By Jacob Lewin.
New numbers from Clatsop Community College show a 44-percent drop in student enrollment for the current year. That’s the highest decrease of any of the state’s 17 community colleges.
Enrollment at the college has dropped from more than 13-hundred fulltime equivalent pre-covid to only about 750 currently on an annualized basis:
“By all measures we are significantly down.”
Jerad Sorber is vice president for success at CCC. He says the reason for the 44% drop—the worst in Oregon—is the unique programs and partnerships the school has. For example the school has lost enrollment in courses that train students for Coast Guard certifications. He says it has also lost about 130
students from the Tongue Point Job Corps Center.
The Job Corps’s Katrina Gasser says the programs accepts low income 16 to 24 year olds for career technical training. Usually job corps students come from their home region:
“We have the exception of course because of our seamanship program, which is the only one like it in the
nation. We have 473 student body typically. 120 of those students are in our seamanship program and they are coming from Hawaii, California, Virginia,Florida, all over the place.” Most were sent home last spring and while some are back, they can’t yet leave campus to take CCC hands on training classes. But Gasser does expect the Job Corps seamanship students to return eventually.
Meanwhile some other CCC students have been sitting out the pandemic. Sorber says the school has upgraded its retainment efforts:
“We did shift back to what I call a plexiglass model, in person service so a lot of plexiglass now you’ll see on campus for some in-person work since we found that a lot of folks were not necessarily comfortable doing things like making college decisions around financial aid, registration, those sorts of
things without having a person in front of them.”
And they’re doing more to seek out new students:
“We’re doing recruitment differently, we’ve purchased additional equipment so that we can do virtual tours live streamed. There’s just a lot of different initiatives and a lot of different programs that we’re doing online tutoring”
Loss of students of course means a loss of tuition dollars but college president chris breitmeyer says that has not impacted the budget much due to new, although temporary, federal funding.
For KMUN Radio, I’m Jacob Lewin