Fall enrollment at Long Beach and Cerritos community colleges is down by 5% from last year, according to the latest figures available.
Classes began at both campuses Monday. On Tuesday, exactly 1,000 fewer students were attending classes at Long Beach and 993 fewer students were at Cerritos.
At the same time last fall, Long Beach had 19,280 students and Cerritos had 17,443 students.
Despite the decline, administrators at both schools remained optimistic when contrasting their enrollment slides to a 13% drop reported in the Los Angeles Community College District.
"We are still in pretty good shape. We haven't faced the tremendous enrollment decline like Los Angeles and some other urban schools," said Wilford Michael, president of Cerritos College.
"Enrollment is a tad lower, but we are pleased compared to last fall," said John T. McCuen, president of Long Beach City College.
"We are not overly alarmed. We will survive," said Dick Dawdy, dean of admissions and records at Long Beach City College.
The decline in enrollment at Cerritos and Long Beach mirrors a statewide trend in declining community college enrollment that began three years ago.
Enrollment throughout the state has been declining since 1982. That year, enrollment at Long Beach was more than 25,000 and more than 22,000 at Cerritos.
Cerritos conducted a telephone survey to try and determine why 1,000 students who indicated by mail that they intended to register for fall classes failed to do so, Michael said. More than half were contacted.
Most indicated they still intended to enroll, while others said they had gotten jobs, enrolled at other colleges or lost interest. Only seven persons in the survey said they could not afford to pay the $50-per-semester fee imposed by the Legislature in 1983.
Rio Hondo and Compton community colleges do not begin registration until Aug. 26. Classes begin at Compton on Sept. 4 and at Rio Hondo on Sept. 9.