Number of Oregon Community College Enrollment Increasing Among High School Students

The percentage of high school students in Oregon’s community college system has been increasing in recent years, with many opting for online classes instead of traditional campus courses.

While community college enrollment has seen a decline over the past ten years, there was a 3% increase in 2021-2022 followed by a further 4% growth in 2022-2023. Nearly a third of this growth was due to high school students enrolling in community college classes.

During the 2022-23 academic year, high school students taking college credit classes accounted for over 20% of the total enrollment in five of Oregon’s 17 community colleges, based on data from the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Many high school students participating in community college classes are actually taking college-level courses at their high schools, taught by high school faculty. Despite this, the colleges still receive state funding for these students. Interviews with community colleges, school districts, and the Oregon Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, indicate that high school teachers often do not receive additional compensation or are only given a stipend.

State records reveal that over 26,000 high school students constituted 14% of the total enrollment at Oregon community colleges in 2022-23, which is a significant increase from 2010. While both high school and adult enrollment numbers have varied over the years, high school enrollment has proven to be more stable than adult enrollment and has slightly exceeded levels from a decade ago. Adult enrollment has seen a drastic decrease, now being only half of what it was ten years ago.

Furthermore, the trend of high school students taking dual-credit classes through Oregon’s public four-year universities has been on the rise, climbing from over 3,500 in 2011 to more than 8,900 in 2021. This growth occurred even during the pandemic, a period when most Oregon universities experienced an overall drop in enrollment.


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