After Years Of Record Growth, Community Colleges Across Mich. Looking At Enrollment Declines

Sharon Rieger's picture

Community college enrollment soared as the economy sank, but now college leaders say they're looking at the number of students heading to classes this fall leveling off or even dropping.

Both Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Valley community colleges expect to see 5 percent enrollment drops based on preliminary head counts, though they won't know for sure until early next month.

Many community colleges across Michigan are reporting similar decreases, and leaders say the dip might be related to a reduction in money available for job training or a shrinking number of high school students in the pipeline.

“We're hearing that from at least a quarter of the schools, maybe as many as a third,” said Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association. “There are a number of reasons. But when you consider that the colleges have seen record enrollment for the past five years or so, the number of people attending is still a very high number.”

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