Community college enrollment, course offerings rebounding, survey indicates

Student enrollment and course offerings are rebounding this year at California community colleges, primarily as a result of additional funding through Proposition 30, college officials said Wednesday.
The median enrollment increase projected at campuses statewide is 2.5 percent and course offerings are expected to increase by about 5 percent this fall, according to a survey of campuses conducted by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
Last year, enrollment dropped 4.8 percent statewide, and course offerings declined 3.3 percent as campuses absorbed the impact of state budget cuts triggered by the recession, officials said.
The upward motion can be attributed to Proposition 30, a tax increase voters approved in November to help fund education, said community colleges Chancellor Brice Harris. Community colleges received an additional $210 million from Prop. 30 in 2012-13 and $600 million in the current year, officials said in a news release.
“Colleges are operating in a more stable financial environment and can better serve students,” Harris said. “This survey shows that 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.”
Community college funding was cut by $1.5 billion between 2007 and 2012, the news release said. Course offerings declined by about 24 percent during that time, and enrollment dropped from 2.9 million students in 2007-08 to about 2.3 million today, the release said.
The enrollment and course offering data released Wednesday was based on survey responses from 95 of the 112 community colleges throughout the state.
Responses revealed other positive trends: Colleges had an average of 5,026 students on wait lists for courses, down from 7,157 students the previous year; and nearly every campus intended to offer summer courses, with the majority saying they were either adding summer courses or were maintaining summer offerings at the same level as last academic year.
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