The L.A. Compact Charting Progress Dashboard has revealed the impact of the pandemic on student enrollment in the L.A. Community College District. The data speak to a larger trend of both declining enrollment rates in community colleges and declining transfer rates into the CSU system since 2019. Many CSUs and CCC's are working towards developing solutions for the long-term effects of the pandemic.
The first notable decline in LACCD enrollment was in Fall 2020. Enrollment dropped by 32 percent—from 18,461 students in Fall 2019 to 12,408 students in Fall 2020. The decrease in Black student enrollment was even more alarming, at almost 50 percent—from 1,507 students in 2019 to 816 students in 2020. (Further, the decline in Black enrollment predates the pandemic, indicating a broader problem that was exacerbated by the recent crisis.)
The pandemic has played a pivotal role not just in declining community college enrollment, but also in CSU transfer rates. Circumstances contributing to these declines include lack of access to required transfer courses and limited contact between students and advisers.
One community college that has seen a 2021 increase in student enrollment since the 2020 decline is Rio Hondo College. The institution attributes their success to the investment in supporting financial aid applications. The community college invested funding to hire more staff to coach students through applying for federal and state financial aid.
As we look at this year's graduation season, community colleges will need to work on prioritizing incoming freshmen enrollment and reflect on current paths created for successful transfer to a four-year university.
Stay up to date with the latest research and data trends representing our community through the L.A. Compact Data Dashboard. For more information, please contact Dr. Lisa Catanzarite, Vice President, Research and Evaluation, at [email protected].