SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Spring enrollment at our community colleges is down about 8% from last year. The pandemic has forced many students to take a break or drop out entirely.
Things like unemployment, childcare costs, and food insecurity have forced many college students to put classes on hold in 2021. Enrollment at the San Diego Community College District is down 8% form last spring. Miramar College President, Wesley Lundberg, says the impacts could be devastating.
“If you stop out from college, you get used to life without college, convince yourself you don't need it and then don't come back,” said Lundberg.
He says the district also saw decreased enrollment during the 2008 recession, but not nearly as bad as this.
The district is doing everything they can to keep students in the virtual classroom. They’re providing free Wi-Fi, laptops, and are no longer dropping students for not paying tuition.
“It's better to reduce the load than drop out altogether,” said Lundberg. “Stick with it even if it's just one class.”
While some students are dropping out, others are transferring from other schools. McKenzie Peay left Cal State Monterey and enrolled in Miramar College until in-person classes resume.
“I think it makes a lot more sense to go to Miramar,” said Peay.” Especially, because I'm saving a lot of money for essentially the same experience.”
She says she considered taking a break from college but is glad she didn’t.
“I think this is a good middle ground option if you're considering a semester off,” said Peay. “It's not a good time to just give up.”
The district says many students are unaware of the resources available to them. They’re encouraging students to check with their financial aid office to see what they’re eligible for.
“You don't have a take a ton of classes, but even just taking a few credit hours is better than nothing,” said Peay. “I think my future self will thank me for it.”
The district is expecting the newest stimulus bill to provide additional funds for students. Enrollment for spring classes is still open. For more information, click here.