Higher Education Enrollments and Student Success in Times of Budget Scarcity: Examining System-Level Impacts in Recessionary PeriodsReport as inadecuate

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Association for Institutional Research (NJ1), Paper presented at the Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research (51st, Toronto, Ontario, May 21-25, 2011)

This study seeks to extend the literature on higher education enrollment patterns during times of recession by examining patterns of enrollment and successful course completion in one of the world's largest higher education systems--the California Community College system. The data are drawn from publicly available data sources on the web. CCC system budget data can be found on the Chancellor's Office website (CCCCO 2010). The CCCCO Data Mart was used to collect term-level data on head counts, enrollments in transfer courses and course success patterns. Economic data and unemployment statistics came from the California Employment. The authors begin by examining enrollment patterns during times of economic recession over the last 20 years. Figure 1 provides a snapshot of annual changes in CCC head count from 1992 to the fall 2010 term. To be more specific, the graph charts fall to fall, spring to spring, and summer to summer changes in the unduplicated term head count, so each academic year has three enrolment bars. In many of the terms, one can witness growth from year to year that tracks with California's growing adult population, and the state's budget fortunes--allowing for growth funding in the system budget. The downturns in enrollment track reasonably well with the three California recessions identified by state economists (June 1990 to May 1993, March 2001 to July 2003, and July 2007 to December 2009). The two largest drops in CCC enrollment occurred in the fall term of 2003 (-187,973) and the summer term of 2010 (-266,713), and both of those terms came immediately after the declared end of the two recessions. Community College veterans of the prior recessionary period (2003) can readily recall the massive number of course section reductions that occurred at that time and the loss in both head count and FTES. The CCC system office (CCCCO 2005, 11) reported at that time that a nearly 10% decline in unduplicated head count occurred in the 2003-04 academic year,an a decline of 4.3% in FTES enrollment. Beyond the reduced budget dollars flowing from the state, the 2003-04 period featured increased enrollment fees for students, with prices per unit of enrollment rising from $11 in spring 2003 to $18 the following year, and $26 beginning in fall 2004 (CCCCO 2005, 8). (Contains 1 figure, 4 tables and 2 footnotes.)

Descriptors: Higher Education, Enrollment Trends, Economic Climate, Financial Problems, College Transfer Students, Student Mobility, Educational Attainment, Pattern Recognition, Community Colleges, Context Effect, Systems Approach, Economics, Unemployment, Data Analysis, Resource Allocation, Decision Making, State Government, Fiscal Capacity, Time Perspective, Longitudinal Studies, Proprietary Schools, Competition, Student Recruitment

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Author: Wetstein, Matthew; Hays, Brianna; Nguyen, Alyssa

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=4495&id=ED531712

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