Enrollment at the state’s 15 community colleges dropped just under one percent in the fall. Iowa Department of Education consultant, Tom Schenk, says the drop is not surprising.
Schenk says they’ve seen some pretty big enrollment increases in the last couple of years with an increase over 14-percent two years ago and over six percent last year, so they expected a decline. He says more people came to the community colleges because of the economy, and then they transferred or got jobs, and that caused the drop.
While the overall enrollment dropped just six-tenths of one percent, enrollment in the health sciences dropped 6% and business management and administration program enrollment dropped 4%. He says those programs saw some big increases in the last couple of years, while he says the manufacturing programs saw an increase.
Schenk says a lot of what is happening this year is offsetting the big enrollment growth the last couple of years. Schenk says this year’s drop follows historical patterns. Schenk says community colleges were instituted in their current form in 1965 and enrollment has only dropped five time in that 46-year history.
He says every drop came after a recession and after increases in enrollment. Schenk says they don’t think this is the start of a trend.
He says they project that the enrollment next year will increase to a little over 110,000 students. Schenk says that depends on the economy and other factors, but they do expect the enrollment to increase next year.
There were just under 106-thousand community college students enrolled when the head were counted this fall. The Iowa Community Colleges Fall Enrollment Report 2011 is available on the Department’s website at: www.educateiowa.gov/ccpublications/.