Community colleges typically face a predictable calculus: Unemployment goes up, more people seek job training and affordable tuition, so enrollment rises. The economy improves, unemployment goes down, and enrollment drops.
But the coronavirus pandemic has broken all the rules. Despite high unemployment, Thomas Nelson and Tidewater community colleges are facing significant enrollment declines.
As of last week, enrollment was down 29% from last year at the Peninsula’s community college. Curtis Aasen, vice president for information systems and institutional effectiveness at TCC, projected that enrollment will be down about 15% when fall classes start Monday.