SCC Enrollment is down; Economy factors into lower campus population

City College students walking through campus Thursday. Jason Pierce | Photo Editor |

Thomas Herzog
Staff Writer


City College enrollment continues to decline, following a six-year trend that correlates with the improving economy.

“Community college enrollments have been trending down everywhere,” said Kim Goff, supervisor of Admissions and Records at City College.

Like most community colleges, City College’s enrollment tends to go down when the economy is improving.

“Enrollment trends at City College are counterintuitive and opposite of the U.C. system,” said Goff.

In fall 2012, the college had 23,323 students. That number dropped to 20,822 by fall 2016, according to end of semester headcounts by the Office for Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness. However, overall enrollment for the Los Rios district has increased about 0.5 percent over the same time period.

This shift has a direct financial impact on City College.

“We get apportionment from the state for students who are going to classes,” said Goff. “The fewer students, the lower the apportionment.”

Apportionment is money distributed by the state based on enrollment statistics. According to reports from California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Los Rios District will receive roughly $8 million more in apportionment funds than it did last year. For general apportionment for 2016/2017, the district received $155,261,937, and for 2017/2018, it received $163,570,952.

The district may be receiving more apportionment money, but it’s not because of City College’s enrollment.

Along with changing enrollment rates, there have been a number of other shifts in student trends. According to data on PRIE’s website, a higher percentage of students reported they worked while less reported unemployment. From 2012 to 2016, the rate of unemployed students dropped from 32 percent to 23.4 percent, while the number of students working 20–39 hours a week rose from 21.8 percent to 26.4 percent.