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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

24 mins ago - World

WHO revises air quality guidelines to reduce deaths from pollution

Smoke from California wildfires over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in August 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday updated air quality guidelines it set roughly 15 years ago, saying that negative health effects from air pollutants can begin at lower levels than it previously thought.

Why it matters: The changes are meant to reduce deaths from pollutants that cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and prematurely kill an estimated 7 million people around the world annually, according to the WHO.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

The road to COP26 gets slightly easier

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The bad diplomatic vibes heading into the critical United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, might be improving slightly.

Catch up fast: Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday pledged to end overseas finance for building new coal-fired power plants and boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Corporations turn focus to retaining frontline workers

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Companies are narrowing the blue- and white-collar experience as they're forced to adapt to a worker-led market.

Driving the news: Basic office tools and concepts like corporate communications and schedule flexibility are migrating to frontline operations through investments in technology.

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