The Portland Press Herald reports substantial declines in Maine’s Community College System enrollment levels since pre-pandemic, with declines happening in both fall 2020 and 2021. Enrollment has also declined, albeit by less than half as much, in the University of Maine System. The article suggests that the greater declines among the community college system are attributable to the demographics of its student body, which tends to enroll more lower-income and non-traditional students who may have been harder hit by the workforce shifts and parenting strains than students in the University setting. In addition, the tight labor market is attracting current and potential students to choose work over enrollment. Within the college systems, administrators also note greater interest in in-person versus virtual, and short-term training or credentialing programs, preferences which may be indicative of trends that predated the pandemic.
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