Student enrollment for the fall quarter at Centralia College is down 30% from the same quarter in 2019, college administration reported this week.
With the Oct. 1 deadline to drop classes came Centralia College’s official count of students enrolled in classes for the quarter, which runs Sept. 20 through Dec. 10.
The numbers will be finalized and further analyzed in the coming weeks, said College President Bob Mohrbacher.
The decreased enrollment is consistent with the significant drop in enrollment Centralia College and other community colleges experienced at the onset of the pandemic last year, but new this year is a decrease in students partaking in Running Start, a program that allows 11th and 12th grade students to take college courses at community and technical colleges.
Centralia College reported its Running Start numbers are down this year, and other colleges have reported a decrease in their Running Start numbers as well, according to Mohrbacher.
“We’ve heard from some students and also some parents that a lot of students, since they didn’t get a regular high school experience last year, are interested in that this year, so a number of them seem to be opting for going to class at the high school rather than attending Running Start,” he said.
When asked if the decreased enrollment has affected Centralia College’s program offerings for the fall, Mohrbacher said “class scheduling is certainly based on student demand so definitely we’ll be offering fewer classes, but we’ve been trying to balance out face-to-face classes with hybrid and online classes depending on what students are looking for.”
About two-thirds of Centralia College students will be attending at least some of their classes in person this year.
All on-campus students, instructors and staff are required to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption by Monday, Oct. 18, in line with the state's mandate for higher education institutes.
The college is continuing to work with students and employees to ensure everyone has either reported their vaccination information or filed an exemption by the deadline. “The numbers who haven’t reported yet are getting lower, so we are making good progress with that,” said Mohrbacher.
Centralia College students can report their vaccine information or file an exemption on their ctcLink account.
Visit the school’s COVID-19 information page at www.centralia.edu for more information. Employees will need to report to the human resources department.
Monday marked the last day to get a vaccine that will be eligible to meet the deadline.