It was only last March when the state’s community colleges reported enrollment had hit a 20-year low across its 112 campuses. The picture looks better six months later. On Wednesday, the nation’s largest higher education system projected that enrollment was on an upswing.
The increase in students is matched by a rise in the number of classes offered, according to a survey of California community colleges conducted by the chancellor’s office. Chancellor Brice Harris said the passage of Proposition 30 last year was largely to thank for the rosier outlook.
“Colleges are operating in a more stable financial environment and can better serve students. This survey shows we are on the mend, but we have a lot more work to do to get back to the level of service we offered before the recession hit,” Harris said in a press release.
In the East Bay, the College of Alameda is offering the highest percentage of courses compared to last year. The school, which is part of the Peralta Community College District, also boasted the fewest number of students on a wait list.
Berkeley City College and Merritt College were two of 11 colleges that did not answer the survey.
Between 2007 and 2012, funding for community colleges dropped by $1.5 billion. During that time, course sections declined nearly 24 percent, and enrollment dropped from approximately 2.9 million students to 2.3 million last year.
Proposition 30 restored California community colleges with an additional $810 million this year and next.