The pandemic hit the working class hard. The colleges that serve them are hurting, too (subscription)

The coronavirus pandemic has been uniquely hard on America’s working class, causing higher unemployment among people without college degrees and eliminating low-wage jobs by the millions. Now, the education system created to help those very workers also is in jeopardy.

Colleges of all types are struggling under the shadow of the coronavirus, but the nation’s community college system has been disproportionately hurt, with tens of thousands of students being forced to delay school or drop out because of the pandemic and the economic crisis it has created.

Enrollment is down by 9.5 percent at the more than 1,000 two-year colleges in the United States compared with numbers from last spring, according to figures from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization that found a similar drop last fall. That is more than double the loss experienced by four-year schools.

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