PHOENIX — A drop in student enrollment at Arizona community colleges could have negative consequences for the state’s future workforce, an education advocate warned.
Community college enrollment was down more than 16% statewide this past school year.
Paul Luna, president and CEO of the Helios Education Foundation, called that statistic from the National Student Clearinghouse “shocking” and “concerning.”
“Clearly so much of this downturn can be attributed to the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “It’s had a particular impact on first-generation, low-income students.”
Luna said the drop in enrollment does not help the state’s efforts to attract high-paying jobs, many of which require some type of post-secondary education.
“So when you see this decline in students moving from high school into those college and university environments, it really should send a shocking message to all of us that we need to do more to understand what is happening here because this is our future workforce,” he said.
The drop in enrollment also makes it difficult to reach the statewide Achieve60AZ goal to have 60% of working adults, ages 24 to 65, with a postsecondary credential or degree by the year 2030.
As a way to re-engage young adults in pursuing higher education, the Helios Education Foundation teamed up with College Success Arizona and other groups to create a one-time $1,000 scholarship. It’s called the Helios Adelante Scholarship.
It’s for Arizona high school students from the class of 2020 who did not go to college or join a postsecondary program. The scholarship is open to undocumented students.
Students are encouraged to visit College Success Arizona’s website for information on how to apply.
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