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Enrollment at BC, on the grow after a slump, surpasses pre-pandemic levels again

Bakersfield College
Posted at 5:54 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 20:54:38-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — It’s been another busy start to the fall semester at Bakersfield College. Data from the college says that 500 more students enrolled this year than last year.

BC’s Vice President of Instruction Billie Jo Rice says enrollment numbers at BC this year rival the college’s pre-pandemic enrollment, with students from all over Kern County attending.

“Now that covid is behind us for the most part, students are healthy and happy to come back on campus and excited to be face to face,” said Rice. “Our last highest year was fall 2019, pre-covid, and we have surpassed that.”

While BC has seen an increase in new enrollments, students transferring in has remained the same year to year. What has increased are transfers out of BC, mostly to CSUB. Students who graduate with an associate degree at BC are fast-tracked into enrollment at CSUB if they intend to pursue their four-year degree.

“Transferring out of BC, we had a 33 percent increase in our graduation rates last year,” said Rice. BC awarded 3,778 degrees and certificates this past year, a record number.

But while Bakersfield College is booming when it comes to enrollment, other public institutions around the country have seen a drop in new and returning students.

A report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center compared enrollment numbers from spring 2022 to spring 2021. The report found public colleges and universities saw the largest decline at 5 percent, amounting to a loss of 604,000 students.

The report goes on to say that community colleges accounted for more than half of those losses this spring, with a 7.8 percent decrease, or 351,000 fewer students.

Some positive news from the report found that nearly 6 out of every 10 new freshmen enrolling in any form of higher education chose a community college. Freshman numbers increased by 6,000 students, or 3.1 percent. This increase follows a decline the previous spring of 10.7 percent, representing 23,000 students.