Upside to the Recession/Depression, for Students

Community College Dean has some interesting insights into the growth of community colleges right now.

This Fall we had enormous enrollment growth, with the fastest growth occurring in the highest-risk group: young men of color. Our Financial Aid rate climbed at twice the rate of our overall enrollment. The student body become younger, lower income, more male, and more ‘minority.’ All else being equal, we should have expected higher attrition.

It didn’t happen. If anything, our success rates increased marginally.

The jobs that sometimes distract students from their studies simply aren’t there. The idea that an education isn’t really necessary is less convincing than ever. Perversely enough, for many students, we’re their only plausible source for health insurance. The opportunity cost for education is as low as it has been in generations, and people are responding to it.

While I don’t know how our demographics line up, compared to his, we have gained 2000 students in the last year. That’s an increase of over 27%. It’s not quite that high at all the other campuses (We have five.), but all of the colleges have seen growth.

Now we’ll see if we get to hire. Historically about every 1,000 students meant one new English faculty. However, if this isn’t likely to continue, they may decide not to hire.

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