As the pandemic lingers, concerns are deepening about the long term, and unequal, effects of the educations being interrupted. This week The Washington Post focused on the drops in Latino students enrolling in college — a trend that experts said could erode years of gains
Some of the worrisome numbers cited in the Post:
- A 5.4 percent drop in the head count of Latino undergraduates in the fall.
- A 26.4 percent decline in high school graduates from schools with a high percentage of Black and Latino students going straight to college this year compared with the year before.
- An 18 percent drop in the number of students at schools with a Latino enrollment of 75 percent or higher who have submitted Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms.
The question of who’s going missing from higher ed is one that our reporters have been examining in their local communities.
In Colorado, Jason Gonzales
reported on pronounced declines in first-generation students,
whose numbers this fall dropped by 16 percent at the state’s community colleges. The number of Pell Grant-eligible students at those colleges decreased by 14 percent.
At Ohio’s community colleges, Amy Morona
found that Black students are some of the most affected. At one college, Cuyahoga Community College, fall enrollment of Black students fell by more than 23 percent.
In Santa Cruz, Calif.,
where residents are facing the twin crises of the pandemic and major fires, enrollment at the community college there this fall was down by 18 percent
, Nick Ibarra
reported. Early data on the spring suggests things are only going to get worse.
Cabrillo College officials told Nick that three common themes emerged from surveys taken by students who dropped courses: Economic pressures, especially caused by unemployment; prioritizing caretaking of children who were also remotely learning, or other relatives; and the lack of adequate study space or internet access at home.
Terrence Willett, Cabrillo’s dean of research, planning, and institutional effectiveness, told Nick he hoped people would come back when they could. But his experience suggests that might not be likely.
“It could have been that this was their moment to get that education. Sometimes people have a narrow time window when they can do it, and this is disrupting the time window for a lot of people.”