Friday, July 31, 2009

Recessions and CC Enrollment

by Todd Holbrook

During a recession, many consumers seek out products with the greatest value for the lowest cost. Much to the chagrin of many academics and cost-insensitive higher education pundits, education seems to be one of these very products. Community college enrollments have swelled to nearly nine times their 1963 levels, with over half of this increase (54%) seen during eleven recessionary years. The accompanying graph shows relative market share among two-year and four-year public institutions with special emphasis on recessionary periods. The growing importance of the 2-year sector is evident, reflected not only in recessionary phases, but also in the overall reduction in four-year market share over the past 44 years as well. Enrollment estimates for fall of 2009 are shaping up to be suspiciously consistent.


capeman said...

Interesting that our correspondent equates higher education to a "product" to be sold to "consumers" at the best price. But let that pass, I guess you learn to think that way if you're an economics student, at least one studying with the Doc.

I wonder if our correspondent is himself a community college "product"? He could have informed us, but let that pass too.

It looks to me like the curve for CC "market share" (as it is so crassly put) is topping out (invert the graph).

It also bewilders me why anyone would be concerned -- nobody that I know is -- about 4 year college "market share" declining, in the face of rising overall college enrollments. There aren't exactly armies of high-quality students who aren't already going to 4 year colleges.

Here why I work, a full-fledged public university, there has been gradual enrollment growth for many years.

If anything, enrollment is growing too fast to suit the tate of some of us. We'd rather raise admissions standards. And "suffer" a loss of "market share", I suppose.

Another thing: why wouldn't community college enrollment grow during recessions, and in general?

In recession, people find out that the lunkhead jobs just aren't there anymore. That they need some kind of training in a marketable skill. CCs often fit the bill just fine.

So who's concerned that they're "gaining market share"?

Certainly not anyone I know!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that our correspondent equates higher education to a "product" to be sold to "consumers" at the best price....
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