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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College reports low enrollment numbers, following national trend

“There is a disproporionate number of students who are needing to take care of their families. That is a big part of what we are deqaling with nationally.” -Albert Garcia, City College Vice President of Instruction (graphic created using

Nearly a year since college campuses shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote instruction has prompted some students to postpone pursuing higher education, according to . Albert Garcia, City College vice president of instruction. 

This has led to a decline in enrollment numbers at community colleges across the country, including City College, Garcia said. 

According to Gabe Ross, Los Rios Community College District associate vice chancellor of strategy and communications, the drop in enrollment is consistent at colleges throughout the district.

“We are down about 10% from last [year] at this time. The decline in enrollment is troubling and, unfortunately, consistent with what community colleges all over the country are experiencing,” Ross said. 

In spring 2020 City College had 19,700 students enrolled,  according to Kaitlyn Colignon, the college public information officer. She said that about 1,600 fewer students have enrolled at City College this semester. 

Colignon said that many factors play into the drop in enrollment numbers. Financial strains, childcare and sometimes limited internet access in the home can be prohibitive to access necessary tools to succeed in remote instruction.

“I think each of us is facing different challenges with this pandemic. And it ranges across the board,” said Collignon, “including things like the isolation of being at home, job loss, personal and family health, and so much more.”

According to Garcia, students this semester have signed up for fewer units than in the past. 

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“There is a disproportionate number of students who are needing to take care of their families,” Garcia said. “That is a big part of what we are dealing with nationally, not only at community colleges but at universities, too.”

Garcia said that staff, faculty and administrators at City College have revamped everything from student services to methods of instruction to cope with unprecedented circumstances of serving students remotely. He remarked that some faculty have gone through training and many have reworked their courses to become better online instructors. 

“[Students’ needs are] a very individualized thing,” said Garcia. “There is internet access, and the college and district have tried to help with that in a variety of ways, working with internet providers for either low cost or free internet access. Faculty [are] working on no cost or low cost textbooks, which is an important thing whether we are in this pandemic or not.”

Students who choose to wait for instruction to be back on-ground also affect enrollment numbers. Garcia said this is especially true in subjects such as English and math. 

“We have a real interest in and programming involved in trying to get them to take math and English in their first year because it is a really important thing,” said Garcia. “Students are reluctant, which is understandable. There can be more comfort in being in the classroom, being near classmates and instructors.”

Reopening campus to students is in the plans, but no official word on when that will be. 

Ross said that the mission of the Los Rios district is to provide access to college degrees and transfer for people in the Sacramento community. 

“Our colleges are also funded based on the number of students we serve, so a decline in our enrollment in the long term could impact the resources we have available to serve students,” Ross said. “At the same time, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority.”

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