Valley colleges report hits to enrollment and revenue from COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local colleges and universities are looking to rebound from the pandemic this school year.

Schools had to make big changes last year, closing their doors to students and going online. Those changes took a toll, but Central Valley colleges we spoke with say they're adapting and setting their sights on the next school year.

Fresno City College leaders say they saw a dip in enrollment.

"We saw a 9-10% loss and statewide there's probably a 15% overall," said Fresno City College President Carole Goldsmith.

Goldsmith says COVID relief funding has helped make up for the lost tuition.

"If we continue with downward enrollment that will turn into a loss of revenue," explained Goldsmith. "But what we've seen with the Federal Cares Act, American Recovery Act, there's financial aid in place to act as a safety net."

At Fresno State, the university saw record high enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year, but still faced a financial impact, telling Action News:

"...We did experience some loss of non-resident tuition revenue (approximately $2.8 million) as compared to the prior three academic years. However, we were able to utilize a portion of our HEERF institutional funds to shore up this tuition revenue differential for this year, which was helpful."

Now these schools are focused on the upcoming school year and getting students back in the classroom.

"There's still room to enroll," added Goldsmith. "We want to make sure that students know it's safe. You can come back here, take classes online, on ground or you can take a hybrid of courses."

Fresno City College also saw a record number of degrees awarded this past semester. They're holding their very first in-person registration event July 30th and 31st.

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