News at CBC

Columbia Basin College

CBC Sees Enrollment Decline; Staff Says It Could Have Been Worse

Posted Date: September 22, 2020
By: Megan Magensky

PASCO, Wash. — The Coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on higher education.

Columbia Basin College is seeing a decline in enrollment for the first time in the last three years.

Monday was the first day of school for Columbia Basin College students, but school officials say fewer students are hopping online for virtual classes this year.

Assistant Vice President of Communications Jay Frank says CBC is seeing about a six percent decline in enrollment for the Fall 2020 semester.

Frank says CBC is lucky. He said this decline is not as bad as many other colleges across the state. He predicts many will see enrollment declines in the double digits. According to Frank, this is a testament to how hard the college has worked to maintain students and faculty during this tough time.

"You take an institution that, over the course of the year, serves 11,000 students, and it's transitioned here from being in person to mostly online," said Frank. "To only see a six percent erosion in enrollment is a pretty phenomenal success story given all of the pressures and stresses that our students are facing."

The school has over 7,000 students and about 1,200 of them are high school juniors and seniors participating in the Running Start program. This allows students to graduate high school with an associate degree.

Frank says students are still trickling into the running start program. He attributes this to an abrupt end to the 2019-2020 school year. He says as students were sent home for virtual classes, they didn't have access to counselors who help discuss higher education options. Last week, the week before classes, 30 running start students signed up for classes at CBC.

Frank said CBC is encouraging folks to reach out if money is holding you back from furthering your education.

The school just opened a second round of scholarship applications and they're partnering with STCU for an emergency fund to help students in need.


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