November, 2019

In this Issue:

  • League Releases New Research on Enrollment Trends
  • You're Invited to the League's Annual Legislative Conference
  • A Student Service Oriented Finacial Aid Office
  • Highlighting Rural Colleges and the Challenges They Face
  • Federal Grant Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events

League Releases New Research on Enrollment Trends

The League is proud to release a new research brief, A Closer Look at California Community College Enrollment. The brief is the first edition of League Research Insights. League Research Insights are designed to build access to information, best practices, and highlight trends that enable districts to better serve their students.

A Closer Look at California Community College Enrollment provides an overview of enrollment trends across the California Community College system and explores where and why the shifts in enrollment are occurring. This brief is the first in a three-part series exploring the nuances of enrollment across the largest and most diverse system of higher education in the county. The first brief explores the extent of enrollment changes over the period of 2008-09 through 2018-19.

The research brief finds that during the Great Recession, enrollment declined across many groups, but the decline was particularly large among first-time students. In the aftermath of Proposition 30, enrollment has increased by 3.8% overall, with the greatest percentage change in growth in regions such as the Inland Empire/Desert and the Central Valley. Since 2008-09, California Community Colleges have seen a sizable shift in the age distribution of the students it serves, with growing enrollment by students ages 25 and under. Enrollment intensity has increased slightly though further improvements are still essential. 

Read the Full Brief 

You’re Invited to the League's Annual Legislative Conference

You and your colleagues are invited to the League’s Legislative Conference on January 26-27, 2020 in Sacramento. It provides a space for community college leaders to discuss important policy issues impacting our students and time for you to advocate for your colleges with your legislators. Lawmaker benefits from the opportunity to hear directly from the college leaders working locally to advance educational access, equity, and success. It’s a chance to share your students’ stories in an effort to provide a better understanding of the important role colleges play in social and economic mobility.

In addition to providing time to meet with your legislators, the League offers a full menu of breakout sessions that examine important public policy topics. These range from a conversation with legislative staff and common misconceptions on financial aid policy to college strategies to increase mental health services access.

For more information and to register for the event, please click on the link below:

Annual Legislative Conference

A Student Oriented Financial Aid Office

As our students increasingly face high costs of living and a significantly underfunded system of financial aid, addressing the basic needs of our low-income students has become more important to our colleges. One way to do that is to create a financial aid office that is student service oriented and makes it as easy as possible to receive timely financial aid awards.

Financial aid offices face a basic choice: how strict should they be about the policies they create on how and when to offer financial aid. On one hand, a policy designed to offer as much financial aid to as many students as possible would result in more students receiving needed aid. On the other, such policies could lead to fraudulent claims and put the college at risk with the federal government.

To understand the implications of this choice and identify best practices that would increase the number of low-income students receiving financial aid while protecting a college, a taskforce made up of trustees, CEOs, and financial aid administrators was formed late last year. Co-chaired by Linda Wah, a trustee from Pasadena City College and Linda Williams, Director of Enrollment Manage and Financial Aid at Sierra College, they will be issuing a report with their findings at the League’s Annual Convention this week. They will be presenting their findings in a breakout session on Friday, November 22nd, at 2:30 p.m. in the Raincross A room.

A big thanks to the dedicated taskforce members:

  • Linda Wah, California Community College Trustees (CCCT) Board and Trustee, Pasadena City College (Co-Chair)
  • Linda Williams, Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid, Sierra College (Co-Chair)
  • Kenneth Brown, CCCT Board and Trustee, El Camino College
  • Jana Cox, Director of Student Financial Services, Santa Rosa Junior College
  • Michael Dear, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships, MiraCosta College
  • Andra Hoffman, CCCT Board and Trustee, Los Angeles Community College District
  • Susan Keith, Trustee, Citrus College
  • Marvin Martinez, CEOCCC Board and Chancellor, Rancho Santiago Community College District
  • Tammera Shinar, Director of Financial Aid and Veterans Services, Butte College
  • Loren Steck, CCCT Board and Trustee, Monterey Peninsula College
  • John Weispfenning, Chancellor, Coast Community College District
  • Kellie Williams, former Student Trustee, Los Angeles Community College District

Highlighting Rural-Serving Colleges: The Challenges and Opportunities

Rural-serving colleges are vital to increasing the educational attainment of their communities but face unique challenges when serving their students. Their service area is large, yet they rarely have the economies of scale that their urban counterparts have. For many, access to a four-year university is lacking or limited. Often, rural community colleges provide the only low-cost pathway for students in their area to obtain a high-quality credential or associate degree.

To highlight both the opportunities our rural colleges face and examine the challenges they work with, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) have obtained a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to host a series of convenings across the country. Two will be in California, with the first in northern California on Thursday, January 23rd. The convening will focus on providing time and space for rural community college CEOs, trustees, local government officials, and K-12 partners to discuss the various challenges they face and potential ways to fix them. The second will be held in late Spring. Further details are forthcoming. For more information contact the League’s Vice President, Lizette Navarette at

In addition to ACCT’s convenings, other foundations have taken interest in the health and success of rural-serving communities. The Lumina Foundation has issued a series of articles highlighting successful programs at rural colleges, one of which was about Shasta College. It highlighted a partnership Shasta College has entered into with its fellow North State colleges, their K-12 colleagues and others intended to address problems specific to their students. It also illustrated how student services and predicable scheduling can help vulnerable students like former foster youth or working parents. Like many rural communities, Shasta College is located in an area without an easily accessible public four-year institution. In an attempt to increase baccalaureate degree attainment, Shasta College offers students that are enrolled in four-year online programs the opportunity to enroll in a free one-unit online college support class. These students are able to use Shasta College’s facilities like the college library for high-speed internet and become apart of a mutually supportive cohort with access to student support services. The full article can be found here:

Federal Grant Opportunities

Presented by Downs Government Affairs

The League, in partnership with Downs Government Affairs, provides a list of federal grants to assist your community college in improving its programs and services. If you have any questions about the following grants, please feel free to reach out to Thomas Downs at

For a full list of federal grants available to community colleges, visit our Federal Grants page at:

Upcoming Events

Consultation Council
Nov. 21 | Riverside

2019 Annual Convention
Nov. 21-23 | Riverside

#RealCollegeCalifornia Basic Needs Summit
Dec. 6 | Laney College

Annual Legislative Conference
Jan. 26-27 | Sacramento

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For more information, contact the League's Government Relations and Communications staff:

Lizette Navarette, Vice President |
Laura Murrell, Communications Manager |
Ryan McElhinney, Legislative Advocate |
Rina Kasim, Member Resources Associate |
Gerson Liahut-Sanchez, Government Relations & Communications Fellow |