Half of Community College Dropouts Cite Work as Reason: Survey

Half of Community College Dropouts Cite Work as Reason: Survey
Students walk to summer semester classes at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif., on June 29, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Micaela Ricaforte

About half of community college students who dropped out of school did so due to work, according to a recent survey by think tank New America.

The survey, which took place in fall 2023, interviewed 1,242 current or former community college studentsincluding 598 dropouts who were no longer enrolled in college this fall.
It reported that 49 percent of dropouts surveyed cited work as a reason for leaving schoola seven percent increase from the previous year.
Others surveyed also cited financial reasons31 percent said they could no longer afford a program and 24 percent cited inflation.

Meanwhile, 27 percent said they dropped out because they lost motivation, while 24 percent said they had to provide care for a child.

The same survey reported a 2.6 percentor 118,000 studentincrease in community college enrollment as of fall 2023 but noted that such enrollment numbers has not yet caught up with pre-pandemic numbers, largely due to enrollment losses from continuing students.

The survey’s authors wrote that, “in order to regain the level of enrollment seen before the pandemic, community colleges must do more to support their students.”

About three in four dropouts said they experienced several hardships at once, including lack of food, eviction or foreclosure threats, and not having health insurance.

Dropouts were also increasingly more likely to experience financial hardship, according to the survey.

About 60 percent of dropouts surveyed said they have fallen behind on paying important bills, an increase from 49 percent in 2022.

Additionally, 58 percent of dropouts said they applied for public benefits, and 48 percent reported skipping meals because they did not have enough food.

Fewer dropouts this year said they plan to reenroll: 36 percent said it’s very likely, compared to 42 percent in 2022.

Meanwhile, 54 percent of dropouts said they would be more likely to reenroll with free tuition, 44 percent with free textbooks and course materials, and 39 percent with more institutional support.