Virginia community colleges see a notable decrease in fall enrollment compared to last year

Education

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Community College System says this September’s total student headcount is almost 10% lower than last fall. According to the VCCS website, the decreases in enrollment were announced at a State Board meeting on Sept. 17.

The organization calculated an overall decrease as well specific figures for full-time students and dual enrollment students. There was a 5.25% decrease in full-time students and a 18.4% decrease in dual-enrolled students.

A blog post on the VCCS website says community colleges had speculated that enrollment would be effected this fall due to instruction being mostly restricted to online learning. Decreases in enrollment varied between 5% and 30% nationwide.

“In the midst of the economic turbulence and pandemic, it appears families were more concerned about paying bills and staying healthy than higher education,” said Senior Vice Chancellor Sharon Morrissey.

Morrissey says the colleges are working to assist lower-income students by opening libraries and computer labs, and helping to provide laptops and internet access.

“We know we have work to do,” said VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois. “We do not exist in a vacuum, and many of the challenges and barriers that face our students exist in the world at large. We know we need to do more to help students succeed, and these numbers will help inform our strategic planning going forward.”

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