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Long Island Community Colleges See Steep Enrollment Decline

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On Long Island, both Nassau and Suffolk Community Colleges have seen a bigger decline in enrollment due to the COVID-19 pandemic than local four-year colleges.

Nassau and Suffolk saw enrollment drops of close to 17% and 11% from fall of 2019 to fall of 2020 according to records from the State University of New York.

Louis Petrizzo is the interim Suffolk County Community College President. Newsday reports that he said the pandemic had a greater impact on blue collar workers and people of color, which he described as typical Suffolk Community College students.

According to SUNY, over 50% of students at Nassau and close to 40% at Suffolk were minorities this past year, a group hit hard by the pandemic with worsening economic challenges.

Both Nassau and Suffolk school officials said they are finding new ways to reach out to students but do not expect a quick recovery from the enrollment challenges.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.