The Inundation of Community Colleges

From The New York Times:

Sonja Taylor applied to LaGuardia Community College this summer with every expectation of being admitted. She planned to study business, bringing her closer to her dream of owning a restaurant.

But her application arrived in August, after the college had closed the floodgates because of a surge of interest from prospective students. So Ms. Taylor, 20, became one of thousands of students shut out this fall as most of New York City’s community colleges were forced to abandon their all-are-welcome admissions policies for the first time.

“Enrollment has been growing steadily, but this was a tidal wave for us this fall,” said the college’s president, Gail O. Mellow, pointing out that the student body had risen by almost 50 percent in the past decade. “I’ve never seen anything like this. We used to pretty much be an open door.”

The article notes that in the past, New York City’s community colleges have accepted students until about a week before the beginning of classes. This year, some closed their doors as early as June and July.

The sorts of students who usually enroll at community college—those with busy lives and many other commitments—are less likely to have college plans made months in advance, and in the past they haven’t had to, so this hurts.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.