Metro Detroit community colleges preparing for fewer students due to COVID-19

Some are reporting decline in summer enrollment
Posted at 12:18 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 12:18:25-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — There's no crystal ball to determine what future semesters will look like at area community colleges following the pandemic, but many are preparing for fewer students enrolling, based on the initial numbers for the summer semester.

"Enrollment is down about 10 percent, but we’re seeing improvement every single day on that," said Chancellor for Oakland Community College Peter Provenzano, Jr.

He said one silver lining OCC is noticing is its guest student population, which usually grows in the summer; something he expects to continue further this year.

"As a community college, we have an opportunity this summer to attract more guest students from other schools and universities who may feel displaced by this crisis," he told 7 Action News.

He also sees OCC as a go-to for unemployed or laid off workers, looking to pick up some extra training or skills over the summer.

Wayne Community College has seen a decline of around 30 percent for summer classes, said CEO and Chancellor, Dr. Curtis Ivery.

Ivery said it's too soon to tell what the long-term funding implications will be.

Wayne Community College's summer semester was supposed to start in May, but has been pushed back to June 12.

As for OCC, summer classes start May 11 and will be conducted remotely at this point.

For the fall, Provenzano said it's still up in the air, but guesses there will be mixed instruction.

"We already have online classes that we offer on a regular basis and we will obviously continue to offer those. The question is, will we need to convert the face-to-face courses to a remote format similar to what we’ve done for the winter, the last half of the winter as well as the summer," he told Action News.

We've reached out to several other local community colleges to see what number they're seeing at this point, and are hoping to hear back soon.

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