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Oregon community colleges see 23% decrease in enrollment

LCC used to provide around 25% of their classes online and now 90% of their curriculum is offered solely remotely.

Posted: Dec 14, 2020 6:29 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Community colleges in Oregon and nationwide are seeing a steep decrease in enrollment rates, which is an abnormality during tough economic times, according to experts.

Across the state's community colleges, the average drop in enrollment is at 23%.

Lane Community College's Vice President Paul Jarrell said they have seen a 22% decrease in enrollment rates since the start of the pandemic. LCC used to provide around 25% of their classes online and now 90% of their curriculum is offered solely remotely. 

"We have provided a lot of support to students through virtual and online tutoring, it just takes time to get those things up and running and I think it takes time for students to get comfortable using those resources," said Jarrell. 

LCC hasn't been the only one affected by the decrease in attendance -- Linn-Benton Community College has as well by about 10%.

"Enrollment is down largely because people are concerned about how to survive financially right now, so people are making sure they are taking care of family and staying close to home," said LBCC President Lisa Avery.

Experts said the fall-off for minority and low-income students could have longstanding repercussions on equity and access for years to come.

As for four-year institutions, the University of Oregon saw a 3.6% drop in enrollment this fall, but Oregon State University experienced the opposite, with a 1.8% growth.

"Students really do want to attend a university -- in this case Oregon State -- they want to be part of a community," said Steve Clark, spokesman for OSU.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133851

Reported Deaths: 1803
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28467459
Washington18734171
Marion16247239
Clackamas11698138
Lane8353109
Jackson693085
Umatilla679368
Deschutes499936
Yamhill319045
Malheur313552
Linn311646
Polk245540
Klamath242838
Josephine174333
Benton170514
Jefferson170525
Douglas168743
Union111416
Wasco108123
Columbia104918
Lincoln99617
Hood River95421
Coos93815
Morrow93810
Clatsop6865
Crook62110
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
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