Article - Office of College Advancement

Enrollment up at Chabot, Ohlone community colleges

By Kristofer Noceda, The Oakland Tribune.

Sunday, November 29, 2009—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

More students are attending area community colleges, enrollment data show.

Chabot College in Hayward has 15,473 students enrolled in classes, an increase of more than 1,000 over last fall.

And enrollment at Ohlone College, with campuses in Fremont and Newark, is up less than 100, at nearly 13,000 students. Last fall, Ohlone reported 12,842 students.

"Many (enrollment) numbers in community colleges across the state are up this year," said Rajinder Samra, a research analyst for Chabot College.

Samra could not pinpoint a reason for the rise but said they likely are a result of the economy and people looking to gain new skills.

Mike Bowman, dean of research and planning at Ohlone, agrees.

"During difficult financial times and a recession, people go back to college for retraining," Bowman said. "It is a national trend."

The University of California and California State University systems also have roles in the increase of enrollment at state community colleges. Both institutions are limiting enrollment, and students being turned away are falling back on community colleges, Bowman said.

With the state slashing education funding, community colleges are having a hard time dealing with the increased number of students.

College officials said they are offering as many classes as their budget allows and they do not plan to add more classes to accommodate the increased enrollment.

"Students are at a disadvantage in all of this. The demand (for classes) is much greater at a time we're trying to limit student resources," Bowman said. "It is a Catch-22."

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