Community college enrollments in Oregon begin to stabilize, but decade of decline worrying

Chemeketa Community College in Salem has seen enrollment decline by more than 40 percent during the last decade. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

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 . . .