Changes in Traditional Student Makeup and Recent Budget Cuts

February
2015
James Todd, Equity and Diversity Action Committee
Jeff Burdick, Clovis Community College Center

The Equity and Diversity Action Committee (EDAC), which was reinstated in Fall 2014 as a standing committee of ASCCC, has been charged with responding to Resolution 13.07, “Changes in Traditional Student Makeup,” from Spring 2010. The resolution is predicated on disproportionate impact through the budget cuts on historically underserved students in the community college system. The Resolves are as follows:

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges research how the state budget cuts have changed the makeup of our student populations and the impact that future cuts to education will have;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges discuss with its educational partners ways in which all educational segments can seek to support those historically underserved students who have been displaced by budget cuts; and 
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges disseminate the results of its research and discussions and publish a Rostrum article on its findings. 

To address this resolution, and in preparation for a discussion on the shifts in community college demographics at the upcoming Academic Academy in March, EDAC compiled several sets of statistics.  Though the use of Datamart, the changes in community college demographics were plotted over a six-year period, fall-to-fall semesters in even-numbered years, beginning in Fall 2006 and ending with the 2012 term.

The community college student population dropped by 241,057 students between 2008 and 2012, which represents an enormous loss of opportunity, presaging a further loss of personal income and community growth. Although the losses were not identical across the spectrum of demographics, the losses were fairly uniform and proportional with some exceptions, which will be noted below.

  • Gender: The change in gender balance is interesting, for the long-term ascension of female students over male students slid a bit. Male students increased their representation about 2% during this period with a commiserate loss by female students.
  • Ethnicity: Given that all groups save one were negatively impacted by the budget cuts, the issue becomes one of determining the greatest losses to determine whether some groups were more damaged by the budget cuts than others. This chart shows loss of representation in the California Community College System by ethnic designation.

Datamart designation

Loss % 2006 to 2012

Change % of population

African American

0.23%

7.21    →6.98%

American Indian

0.37%

0.86    →0.47%

Asian

0.72%

12.06  →11.34%

Filipino

0.41%

3.53    →2.97%

Pacific Islanders

0.22%

0.71    →0.49%

White (non-Hispanic)

3.8%

35.92  →30.36%

The issue of multiple identities and unknown ethnicity complicates the data. In Fall 2008, fewer than 100 students claimed multiple identities because most were not given an opportunity to do so. By Fall 2012, 50,994 students were able to claim multiple identities, and they make up 3.22% of the population. Unknown ethnicity dropped during this time from a total of 170,354 students in 2006 to 86,851 by 2012, suggesting better data collection.

The Hispanic student population did not follow the other trends, as Hispanics grew from 29.3% of the total population to 38.68%, which was a gain of 8.3% and 129,496 additional students.

Datamart designation

Gain % 2006 to 2012

Change % of population

Hispanic

8.32

30.36 → 38.68%

The two dramatic shifts in the ethnic categories are the substantial drop in white (non-Hispanic) students and the substantial rise in the Hispanic students. The other shifts were modest, though any student shut out of the system is an unacceptable loss.

  • Age: The influx of high school students (<19 years) remains quite stable at 25% of the population, but substantial growth occurred in the 20-24 range with nearly a 6% rise in the population. Students 35 and older also suffered a substantial loss of population.                                            

Age range

Gain (loss)

Fall 2006 → Fall 2012 % of population

>19

(0.12)

24.56   →24.68%

24-24

5.81

27.36   →33.31%

25-29

0.99

11.9     →12.89%

30-34

(0.09)

7.5       → 7.41%

35-39

(1.29)

6.2       → 4.91

40-49

(2.33)

9.95     → 7.62%

50+

(2.41)

12.11   → 9.7%

  • Full-time (12+ units) versus part-time students: The percentage of full-time students rose from 26.63% to 30.38% during the same period.
  • Basic skills offerings:  175,271 fewer students took basic skills classes in 2012 than in 2008, and colleges offered 3,428 fewer sections of basic skills classes. 

These statistics are absolutely worthy of reflection and engagement, and EDAC members look forward to your thoughts concerning the data. Importantly, the Senate Bill (SB) 860 trailer bill of June 2014 also put in statute the requirement of student equity plans, which may be an important avenue that will address many concerns regarding issues of access and success that various student populations face in the CCC system. With much work ahead of us in terms of equity, representation, and success, the secured funding for equity is a welcome step in the right direction.

The articles published in the Rostrum do not necessarily represent the adopted positions of the academic senate. For adopted positions and recommendations, please browse this website.