Community colleges throughout California experience decreased enrollment

ARC student enrollment for the Fall 2021 semester has dropped 6.33% since last year


Community college campuses across California, including American River College, have seen a significant decrease in student enrollment with the transition to online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall semester of 2021. (Photo via Unsplash)

With a new wave of COVID-19 sweeping the nation, many community colleges have seen student enrollment rates drop drastically.

According to a study conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse, student enrollment for community colleges in the spring 2021 semester dropped approximately 9.5% nationwide. That drop is 7.2% worse than the spring 2020 semester.

For American River College, it appears that issue is evident. The Los Rios Community College District announced in March of 2021 that the fall 2021 semester would run under a hybrid format. For ARC, student enrollment for the Fall 2021 semester has dropped 6.33% from the fall 2020 semester, according to Frank Kobayashi, vice president of instruction at ARC. 

 Kobayashi also added that ARC has seen a drop in enrollment across all class options. 

“[ARC] has seen a softening of enrollment in online sections combined with less than expected demand for face-to-face classes,” Kobayashi said in an email to the Current. 

Because of the continuing rates of COVID-19, the switch to online classes has made the learning process more difficult than learning in person for some students, including former ARC student Adrianna Williams. 

“I could get my work done with online learning, but I wasn’t understanding the material as well as I did when I was taking classes in-person,” said Williams, who transferred to a university this semester.

On Aug. 4, the LRCCD announced that the district’s colleges, including ARC, will require students and faculty members who are on campus to provide evidence that they have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1, 2021. 

We are in the midst of a public health crisis and now is the time for bold, courageous action,” said Los Rios Board President Deborah Ortiz in the written statement. “By all accounts, the overwhelming majority of serious cases and deaths in California and nationwide are among the unvaccinated, underscoring the need for urgent action by institutions like ours to do our part to protect our campus communities.” 

To learn more about enrolling for online classes as well as Los Rios updates on COVID-19, visit the ARC Enrollment and eServices webpage and Los Rios COVID-19 Updates webpage.