An unprecedented year has brought unprecedented changes to the enrollment numbers of the Rio Grande Valley’s largest higher education institutions, changes that are both good and bad.
Although the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley reports an increase of 3,505 students from last fall, South Texas College has experienced a decrease in enrollment of 4,552 students in the same period, representing a decrease of about 13.8%.
The sharp decline is a local example of a nationwide phenomenon that’s caused enrollment at community colleges to shrink anywhere from 5% to 30%.
It’s also, according to STC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Matthew Hebbard, evidence of how the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affects the demographic that makes up the student bodies at community colleges.
“The community college