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City College sees significant increase

November 9, 2009
by Lovelle Harris | Staff Writer

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Enrollments at two- and four-year institutions spiked in 2008 as nearly 40 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 registered for instruction at places of higher education – the surge coming almost entirely from enrollments at two-year colleges, according to a report released by the Pew Research Center Oct. 29.

The report showed that national college enrollment rates are projected to continue growing at record-breaking levels as young people look for solutions in an increasingly hostile economy.

This trend is readily apparent at City College, where enrollment in 2008 increased by 9.6 percent over the previous year with an especially noticeable increase in the number of first-time freshmen, according to City College’s Self-Study Report for Reaffirmation of Accreditation submitted on Aug. 14.

“It’s a lot cheaper than state, basically,” says Eric Sousa, a 23-year-old City College freshman.

While the U.S. Census Bureau advises their findings on enrollment trends for 2009 won’t be published for many months, a current population survey released by the agency in September suggests that enrollment rates for 18- to 24-year-olds will continue to follow the all-time high trend set in 2008.

According to Dean Marybeth Buechner at the office of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness, while the 2009 figures won’t be available until the end of the fall semester, preliminary reports indicate a current enrollment of approximately 25, 300.

Amidst a recession that has had a stranglehold over the economy for the last year and a half, according to the Pew report, nearly 3.4 million young adults invested in their education not by attending private or state universities, but by enrolling in community colleges instead.

“I didn’t want to go straight to a four-year college quite yet,” says Kristeen Monrry, an 18-year-old freshman who graduated last year from River City High School in West Sacramento. “I kind of wanted to ease my way into it and get the feel of college before I go into something more difficult.”

Los Rios Community College District research data files also show a marked increase in the census headcount with City College’s total enrollment, jumping from 22,352 in 2007 to 24, 506 in 2008.

With this uptick in enrollment, and the CPS report projecting that the high levels of college enrollment will continue, it remains to be seen whether the campus can handle the influx of new students in the face of budget cuts and class reductions.

“I think they should be able to handle it,” Monrry says. “It kind of all depends. It kind of evens out like awhile after the beginning [of the semester] because a lot of kids drop out.”

“[The college] can handle it if they let the students know where the classes are besides Sac City; like the outreach centers that we have at UC Davis or Downtown or in West Sac,” Roman Hodge, City College student, says. “If they let students know where these other options are, and if students are willing to travel to those other places, yeah, we can deal with it.”

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