After a number of years of enrollment growth at the nation's community colleges, total headcount enrollments leveled off in fall 2011 from the previous year. A collaborative analysis of the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Student Clearinghouse shows an enrollment decrease of almost 1% from fall 2010 to 2011. Despite this slight decline, enrollments remain up 21.8% since fall 2007 (see Figure 1).
This explosive growth was undoubtedly fueled by the economic downturn — historically, community college enrollments spike during bad economies — and occurred at a time of widespread state and local funding cuts, placing huge strains on campuses across the country.
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