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New student enrollment at Salt Lake Community College is down

Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) may begin offering on-campus housing at its Taylorsville campus, likely entering a public-private partnership to make it happen. (Credit: SSDP)

SALT LAKE CITY —  The Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) says it has an enrollment problem.  The number of new freshmen dropped by 7.5% in the 2020/2021 school year from the previous year.  While all the other universities and colleges in the state saw their enrollment increase or hold steady.

Dave Woolstenhulme, Utah’s Commissioner for Higher Education told the Deseret News the population of students who typically attend community colleges are those most impacted by the pandemic.  And that’s impacting new enrollment.

Erica Shubin, spokeswoman for SLCC also spoke to the Deseret News and confirms Woolstenhulme’s assessment.  She said 80% of the college’s students are considered ‘non-traditional.’ 

They work while going to school, are adult learners and/or are parents. Shubin said she believes a lot of their students had to shift their focus to their family during the pandemic. 

Community colleges around the country are also seeing a significant drop in enrollment.  A study from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows freshmen enrollment was down 19% nationally last year.

Woolstenhulme says this puts a financial burden on SLCC as 25% of their budget comes from enrollment fees.

SLCC did drop its $40 fee this year.  This fall’s enrollment numbers have not been released.