Enrollment at community colleges across Oregon has been on the decline for many years. Now, new research compiled by Mt. Hood Community College Research Director Nancy Szofran shows a link between the enrollment drop and continued insufficient funding by the state.
The research takes into account several variables, including tuition and fees at community colleges and universities, state and local support, population growth, unemployment, financial aid and inflation.
'In considering all variables, we have found that increased tuition, as a result of insufficient funding, plays a significant role in why fewer students are attending college,' Szofran said.
The research also supports recent reports that Oregon is at the bottom in the nation when it comes to state support. College officials are concerned that the trend will be extremely difficult to turn around unless steps are taken soon.
'What this report shows is that we are in a vicious cycle,' said Dr. Robert Silverman, MHCC president. 'We must look at strategies to reverse this trend and increase the number of students attending college. In the past we have only been able to react to underfunding. We must now stop reacting and develop a stable funding system in this state.'