Enrollment in Virginia’s community colleges continues to decline

Germanna Community College held it's Nursing and Health Technologies Convocation in 2014....
Germanna Community College held it's Nursing and Health Technologies Convocation in 2014. Nursing and other health programs continue to be a popular choice for students at the school near Fredericksburg. (Creative Commons, Robert A. Martin via Wikimedia)
Updated: Apr. 3, 2019 at 1:00 PM EDT
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By 2026, Virginia Community College Chancellor Glenn DuBois thinks colleges will be competing so hard for students, it will feel like “The Hunger Games.”

“Beginning in 2026, we will see a decline in the traditional college-aged student that is more dramatic than we’ve ever seen before,” DuBois said in a 2018 address to community college leaders.

Last year was the seventh straight year of enrollment decline for the Virginia Community College system.

System-wide, the Virginia Community College System lost about two percent of its students between 2013 and 2018, according to data from the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia.

In some places, enrollment has crept back up after dipping down. In others, including the largest colleges in the 23-school system, enrollment continues to drop.

In 2008 — the year 18-year-olds who enroll in college in 2026 would have been born — the number of births was at 4 million.

Births continue to fall, according to the most recent report on birth rates. In 2017, 3.86 million births were registered in the United States, down two percent from 2016.


The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.

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