By The Numbers

Community college enrollment is down across the state, but the district hopes to increase campus numbers.


Gideon Fogt, Deputy Editor

Class is back in session at Grossmont College, and the school is bustling with student activity all across campus. 

It should not come as much surprise as, according to statistics released by the district, roughly 50% of all classes are now on campus and plans to bring up to 70% of classes to campus are in the works for next semester. 

With health and safety policies from the pandemic becoming increasingly more relaxed and student activities making their return to campus, it feels as though Grossmont is slowly returning back to a semblance of “normal.”

This is no fluke either; Grossmont is following a similar trend to many community colleges across California. 

Ever since the pandemic gripped the country, community college districts across the state found their enrollment numbers dropping as far as 30%. However this fall semester many saw those numbers make a slight bounce back with Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District seeing a 2% rise in enrollment. 

Some of this growth can be attributed to prospective students becoming more comfortable with returning to school as the pandemic’s grip continues to weaken. Since community colleges are generally more affordable than traditional universities, many more potential students may be seeking out schools like Grossmont College during times of economic uncertainty. 

Still, the numbers remain significantly lower than in the pre-pandemic era. According to data gathered from the state chancellor’s office, in the last semester before the COVID-19 pandemic, Grossmont reportedly had more than 17,000 students enrolled. When compared to the 12,863 enrolled students reported by the school for this fall semester, the difference in numbers is rather clear. 

That should not take away from the signs of growth seen recently, and it certainly has not stopped confidence from brewing among the district’s leadership as they point to new energy on the campuses.

This energy can be seen in the district’s emergency recovery plan: ”Reconnecting with our students and communities, and reversing recent declines, are our single most important priorities and at the core of our decisions.”

The district plans to achieve its goals of bolstering enrollment through several coordinated actions noted in the plan, including enhancing student flexibility, gathering fresh input from opinion leaders, strategic marketing, overhauling the registration process, ramping up data-driven outreach and creating in-person community building.

As a part of the recovery plan, Grossmont is also working to ensure currently enrolled students will remain with the college in future semesters by trying to meet students’ needs through existing resources.

Some of the resources being provided to students will come in the form of emergency grants, debt relief, food pantries and emergency/non-emergency housing for students with home insecurity. The district has also stated in its plan to continue using currently existing programs like EOPS, CARES, NextUp! and CalWORKS to provide further assistance.

With more students searching for affordable in-person learning experiences and the college leadership’s commitment to improving enrollment and the overall student experience at Grossmont, more and more activity will likely be seen on campus in the days ahead.