Colorado community colleges saw enrollment this fall drop less than expected. (Matt Stensland/Chalkbeat Colorado)

Community college enrollment is looking flat this fall

With a number of states—Colorado, Michigan, and Mississippi—reporting fall enrollment, the general trend appears flat. That’s in line with what the American Association of Community Colleges is hearing, and it raises questions about whether the country will actually see a surge in workforce training.

Early numbers show the Colorado Community College System will again see a decline in enrollment. In this photo, Colorado Northwestern Community College cosmetology student Sarah McCourt gets her nails painted by fellow student Sara Beason. (Matt Stensland/Chalkbeat)

What Colorado might be telling us about community college enrollment nationwide this fall

The state’s community college system projects enrollment will drop more than 6 percent this fall—perhaps a harbinger of 2-year enrollment nationwide as the Delta variant adds uncertainty and the economy tries to rebound.

A view of downtown Denver and the State Capitol, where lawmakers recently approved a bill allowing four-year institutions to award associate degrees to students who dropped out with more than 70 credits. (Andrew Coop/Unsplash)

Colorado will allow four-year colleges to grant associate degrees to those who dropped out. Will it make a difference?

National experts don’t expect the new law to immediately improve the job prospects of learners who dropped out—but it might if it motivates them to come back for a bachelor’s.

QuangHuy Bui cuts client Jorge Sanchez’s hair at Westwood Barbershop in Denver, where Bui has worked for almost a year since deferring his admission to CU Boulder until this fall. (Eli Imadali/Chalkbeat)

A detour through a barber shop

Millions of Americans delayed or cancelled higher education plans amid the pandemic. QuangHuy Bui, in Denver is one of them—and after spending the year working in a barber shop, he’s now planning his return to education.