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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Enrollment at U.S. community colleges dropped 10% from fall 2019 to fall 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic compounded on some of the problems the schools already faced, the AP reports citing data from National Student Clearinghouse.

The big picture: Students at community colleges tended to struggle to balance their education with the demands of home life even before the pandemic. But the added challenges of virtual learning and an economic downturn have led to significant drops in the number of students attending across the country.

  • Community colleges were the hardest-hit by the pandemic, as four-year universities outperformed many predictions and only saw slight decreases in enrollment.
  • Black and Native American students saw the most drastic drops in enrollment, at 13%. While enrollment also dropped 10% among white and Hispanic students.

The colleges, which often offer two-year degrees and vocational training, often attract older students who want to learn new skills. Those students are now among the hardest hit by the pandemic — many have lost their jobs or are preoccupied helping their own children with virtual schooling, the AP writes.

Worth noting: Many of the colleges have expanded food pantry and grocery programs after seeing spikes in demand for students who need them, per the AP. Some of the programs have tripled the amount of food they usually distribute.

Go deeper: Colleges run into COVID-19 variants

Go deeper

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

1 hour ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker

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