Blossom Bogen-Froese/Courier. (Right) Pasadena City College during club rush week on the quad on Thursday, September 12, 2019. (Left) Pasadena City College quad left empty from coronavirus shutdown on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. Spring 2021 semester enrollment is down 7-8 percent due to the pandemic.

After nearly a year of enduring the coronavirus pandemic colleges across the nation have seen large drops in student enrollment. Students and faculty alike have been struggling with the adjustment to online learning leading to many students leaving the college system.

PCC has seen enrollment for the spring 2021 semester drop by about 2,000 students. This fall the drop in enrollment resulted in a struggle to fill classes and some financial issues for the college.

Crystal Kollross, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning, gave insight into how decreased enrollment is affecting PCC.

“Losing students always affects the amount of classes being offered but what we are going to have to do is balance to make sure that we are always offering classes that are most in demand,” explained Kollross. “We are being very cautious about cutting sections because we really want to make sure that our students can complete their degrees.”

Kollross went on to say that it is important to PCC that students who have dropped during the pandemic come back to the college.

“We are going to look at trying to get back some of the students we lost in this online environment and begin doing what we can to help them complete their educational goals,” Kollross said. “We need to make sure all the students that want an education come back and get it.”

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center enrollment dropped for almost every college institution in the fall of 2020.

“Overall post secondary enrollments declined 2.5 percent in fall 2020, nearly twice the rate of enrollment decline reported in fall 2019,” stated the National student clearing house’s term enrollment estimates for fall 2020. “Undergraduate enrollment was the primary driver for this decline, decreasing 3.6 percent or over 560,200 students from 2019.”

As The California State University (CSU) system aims to return to in person education for the fall 2021 there is hope that community colleges could follow.

The emerging evidence provides optimism that the upcoming 2021-22 academic year can be conducted much more in person,” stated a press release by the CSU public affairs department.

The fall 2021 term would be the first to begin conducting in person since the start of the pandemic and could set the precedent for other colleges returning to in person education, including PCC.

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