Home Coronavirus Coverage Recessions Are Usually Good For Community Colleges. Not This Time – WGBH

Recessions Are Usually Good For Community Colleges. Not This Time – WGBH

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At Bunker Hill Community College, most students ride the T to campus. Not this semester.

“I have asthma. I was afraid that I might catch [the coronavirus]. My anxiety was really bad,” said Cindy Morales of Dorchester, who took the Red and Orange lines to Charlestown for a few in-person nursing classes. She struggled to keep up with her coursework online in the spring, and then made the difficult decision to withdraw from school over the summer.

Over the summer, the 26-year-old single mom lost her job at a fast food restaurant, and this fall she’s been supervising her 5-year-old son Jonah while he attends kindergarten on her computer. It has all left Morales feeling overwhelmed, tired and defeated.

“I have to be by his side most of the day and then after I don’t have anyone to watch him, since it’s just me and him,” she said.

Historically, community colleges have gained enrollment during recessions, as unemployed people often go back to school to upgrade their skills with the hope of getting a better job when the economy improves. But this year, enrollment has gone down — by about 12% at community colleges in Massachusetts.

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