Enrollment at Kentucky Community & Technical College System still down from pre-pandemic levels
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The pandemic drastically changed the landscape of higher education and adult learning programs around the country.
We checked in on community colleges around the state to see where enrollment stands in the Commonwealth.
“We still see some folks who struggle because they can’t get child care if they need to come to an in-person class. Some things just don’t translate well in the online environment; you need to be welding, or you need to be in a lab in some way,” said Kentucky Community & Technical College System Chancellor Dr. Kris Williams.
The Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) is home to 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses statewide.
Dr. Williams says they have been watching enrollment trends over the years. Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, there were 78,484 students.
When COVID disrupted classrooms and learning structures nationwide, many students faced additional hurdles.
By the Fall of 2021, they were down to 70,000 students. In the fall of 2022, they were up almost 6% to nearly 74,000 students.
“It’s been a challenging time for our students and for our faculty and staff, but we feel like we’ve really made a lot of strides and a lot of changes to help support those students," said Dr. Williams.
Dr. Williams says the needs of the community have changed, demands and industry are constantly changing, and they’re always working to keep up.
“There’s a real need for CDL drivers, and CDL drivers can make a lot of money, and there have been lots of people who are coming to our colleges to get trained to get that commercial driver’s license,” said Dr. Williams.
For many workers, the pandemic closed some doors and career paths but opened others on the other side.
April marks National Community College Month.
KCTCS is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Copyright 2023 WKYT. All rights reserved.