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Community college enrollment stabilizing

Decade of decline remains worrying

By Alex Baumhardt

Oregon Capital Chronicle

Oregon's 17 community colleges have managed to slow steep pandemic drops in enrollment according to figures released Friday but their future is uncertain. 

Last year, the total student headcount was down 23% from the year before. This year, it slowed to a drop of less than 1%. 

Still, community colleges enroll 60,000 fewer students today than they did a decade ago – a 40% drop – as Oregon's population has grown.

There are three central reasons for this decline. 

One is that in 2012, the country was coming out of an economic recession that...