Enrollment Declines At Massachusetts Community Colleges Amid COVID-19

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Community colleges, which have been struggling for years with falling enrollment rates in Massachusetts, have taken a particularly hard hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On average nationwide, community colleges saw a ten percent drop in new student enrollment between fall 2019 and fall 2020, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

North Shore Community College, one of the largest in the state, had a 14 percent decline, spokesperson Linda Bentley said.

The heaviest impact is among first-generation Americans, ESL and low-income students, who Bentley said have had the hardest time switching to online learning.

"Now that we've tried to address that by moving a lot of our supports and resources online, the supports are just not enough to make them feel comfortable in an online environment," she said. "What it'll look like in the end, I don't think anybody's really sure right now."

Bentley said she believes the two-year college needs to pivot the way it delivers education, and that the pandemic will likely have a lasting effect on NSCC and community colleges across the country.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kendall Buhl reports:

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Written by Brit Smith

(Photo: Getty Images)

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