National community college enrollment has fallen 10% from fall 2019 to fall 2020, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, the Associated Press reported.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit older adult students hard, with many losing their jobs or saddled with more time-consuming, at-home responsibilities due to the shift to online classes for children.
And given that such adult learners often choose to go to community colleges, such institutions have seen a noticeable decline in enrollment.
Other issues plaguing community college students at this time include depression and anxiety.
According to the AP, typically, community college enrollment increases amid an economic downturn as students seek new job skills or career changes. Some advocates expect students to return to school as campuses reopen and jobs return. But some students may opt out of higher ed altogether, a move that may lead to a lifetime of lower earnings and financial issues, according to experts.
Community colleges have also reported spiking food assistance requests from students, which have been met with more food pantries and grocery programs. MassBay Community College’s meal assistance scholarship applications rose 80% since last year.