Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Virginia’s Community Colleges are taking steps to address several years of declining student enrollments.

In May, the VCCS Board accepted recommendations from a blue-ribbon task force that spent the past several months studying the issue. The panel developed recommendations aimed at reversing the trend.

“We recognize enrollment declines are a threat to our ability to pursue the VCCS mission and serve the commonwealth,” said Dr. John Capps, president of Central Virginia Community College and chairman of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Applying the Community College Mission to Virginia’s 21st Century Needs.

Task force Co-chair Dr. Janet Gullickson, president of Germanna Community College, added, “This is a challenge that defies easy explanations and simple solutions. We know that, to remain relevant in the long term, our colleges must meet the changing needs and expectations of students and Virginia’s evolving economy.”

Capps added, “We know our enrollment declines are part of a national trend, but that doesn’t mean we can sit on our hands; we must take action.”

Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, is prioritizing three of the task force recommendations with most potential for early results:
• Creation and deployment of a strategic research-driven statewide marketing campaign for Virginia’s Community Colleges;
• Pursue policy changes to remove financial barriers to promote affordability and increase access for all Virginians to postsecondary education; and
• Strengthen advising and student support to help VCCS students achieve their academic and career goals

Last year, Virginia’s Community Colleges served almost 57,000 fewer students than they did just six years ago. That’s a 22 percent decline, and put in perspective, the enrollment loss number is greater than the combined enrollment of 17 of our colleges.

The decline has cost Virginia’s Community Colleges millions of dollars in lost tuitions, and resulted in hundreds of lost jobs at institutions across the state.

To learn more about the Chancellor’s task force report, click here.'

Jim Babb

Jim Babb works for Virginia's Community Colleges in the Office of Strategic Communications.


  1. ?

    Marla Whiteside

    We must increase our online classes, students today do not want to sit in a class room for two years. We have to have more fast track programs shorten the time it takes to get a degree, no one wants to wait for two years or more.
    Also we have to get involved in the communities, we can no longer sit by and watch all the outdoor activities happen and not have your college there. We have to show support to the local Cancer, Heart, etc walks, and other activities happening in the area. We must show the community that we are here and support good or bad things that are going on in the community.

  2. ?

    Sheba Lane

    Not sure what you mean by this statement: “Every program we offer must
    seamlessly connect with opportunities in the larger community.” I hope it refers to the huge untapped potential to MARKET the links between programs available within our network of community colleges. I am a BRCC Career Coach at Fort Defiance High School. My students love the financial benefits of the guaranteed transfer to four year universities… I just call it 2 + 2 and they get the concept. We need to make a similar connection much more obvious: BRCC 2 + VWCC 2 = Dental Hygienist career! Students are not aware of our Community Colleges’ many ways to easily connect our own programs. BRCC 2 + DSLCC 2 = Culinary Arts & Management. We need to focus on marketing these statewide connections. Thank you.

  3. ?

    Dan Wade

    I think it would be really big step if the community college could offer bachelor’s degrees in applied science. 22 states (at my last count) have already made this move. It would allow us to offer 4-year degrees at a fraction of the cost of the universities, and would give programs like nursing the opportunity to offer what the students need to get a job. We know that most jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree, but in some specialty fields, it is absolutely necessary.

  4. ?

    Jeanette M. Thompson

    This sounds like a great plan! As Mr. Al Roberts (the president of Southside Virginia Community College) says, “Enrollment is everybody’s business.”


Post a Comment