EUGENE, Ore. — There are more empty seats in Lane Community College classrooms this term than students are used to.
The administration says enrollment is down by more than 10 percent. Students say it’s a bit concerning for now, but they’re hopeful things will change soon.
Biff Miller, who is studying to be a personal trainer, says so far this term the number of students didn’t seem as robust compared to previous terms.
“I have noticed in the first two classes that I’ve had that they have been a lot smaller than usual,” Miller said.
It’s even shaped her class schedule.
“Personally, I’ve just noticed that there were some classes that I wanted to take, but there weren’t enough people enrolled so they weren’t able to exist,” Miller said.
This term, enrollment has decreased by 11 percent. Vice President Brian Kelly says not to worry, this isn’t anything abnormal.
“Lane is experience a leveling off of enrollment, and this is really typical. When the economy is strong, people are working. When the economy is failing, people are coming back to community colleges,” Kelly said.
He says the college has seen the numbers fall and rise like this before.
“We had an enrollment surge during the recession years of 2008 and 2011, and what we’re seeing now is returning to levels of 2009 enrollment, which are more typical for the college,” Kelly said.
Kelly says even with numbers down, helping enrolled students succeed will always be the college’s priority.
Students who were walking on campus Tuesday say they hope enrollment increases, but for now they’re hitting the books.
“I want to get my degree. This is a great place to start to get the beginning of your education,” said LCC student Jesse Tidaback.
“I’m hoping it’ll pick back up. I’m thinking that if it doesn’t, it’ll obviously cause problems with the financial stability of the school, but I think it’ll pick back up. I think we’re good,” Miller said.
Kelly says they anticipate enrollment to go up in the winter term, which they generally see every year.