California fall undergraduate enrollment declines have slowed, but still ‘troubling’
There is no question that enrollment in the California Community Colleges has been declining since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007, but a recent report highlights the possibility that, at least in the short term, even enrollment of students in those lowest-undergraduate programs has fallen.
The California Credential Assessment Team of the UC Davis Center for Economic and Social Research released its fall 2014 report last week, which showed the enrollment at the three lowest-undergraduate programs – transfer admissions, non-transfer admissions (for students with high test scores) and first-generation students (for students whose parents did not go to college).
The authors calculated that over the course of the 10-year period, the overall enrollment at the three program has dropped at three-and-a-half times the rate of the overall enrollment in public colleges and universities.
The report’s authors also found that California’s participation rate for transfer students in the lowest-undergraduate program – for those who scored in the lowest 10 percent of their high school’s graduation classes – has dropped by more than one percent annually.
But the report also showed that, among the state’s non-transfer students, a decline in the number of freshmen entering the lowest-undergraduate program in the fall of the last year (Fall 2013) appears to have leveled off. According to the report, the state’s participation rate for non-transfer freshman in the lowest-undergraduate program is trending up.
This is the second year that the Credential Assessment Team has conducted the report on non-transfer students’ enrollment in CA Community Colleges. The team also released a report in 2012, after the recession began.
The report was released following a meeting Wednesday between U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Gov. Jerry Brown. Duncan met with Brown for about an hour. The pair discussed programs for students who did not attend college and the need for more resources for students and colleges.
The Credential Assessment Team said the decrease in enrollment can be attributed to the fact that students are choosing smaller, private colleges with shorter student-to-employee ratios. The report also stated that students are less likely to enroll in programs designed specifically for people who did not attend college.
The report also said that the most