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COVID-19 Slashes FRCC Enrollment

Written by Phillip Drake

Though attendance at Front Range Community College has dropped since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, retention percentages remain strong.

The fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020 saw the highest student enrollment numbers Front Range Community College Larimer had seen in years.

The steadily increasing number of students either enrolled at Front Range for full-time or part-time schedules parallels the ever growing population of Fort Collins -- which has been growing by about 2% as far back as 1950.

In the fall of 2019, 19,285 students were enrolled at FRCC: 4,937 full-timers and 14,389 part-timers -- an increase of 2.1% from the previous year.

Now, as we near the end of our second fall semester within the pandemic, the college has experienced a 5% decrease in enrollment. Nearly one-thousand less students enrolled for either part-time or full-time schedules this semester compared to the pre-pandemic-fall.

However, figures provided by the college show that the retention rate is as strong as ever. The fall of 2020 saw a retention of 51%: 4% higher than the previous year.

Brandon Fox, director of student success, says there are a few reasons for this decline.

“I have worked with a lot of students who have struggled to survive during this time,” he says.

“Many of our students struggle with the cost of living in the area, whether it be rent or mortgage, food, tuition, books.” The list goes on.

“The reality,” he says, is that “there are a ton of reasons students choose not to enroll in the next semester.”

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