Date

5-2017

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Chris A Daniel

Keywords

Business Cycle, Community College, Enrollment Demand, Human Capital, Unemployment

Disciplines

Adult and Continuing Education | Community College Leadership | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education | Other Education

Abstract

The effect of business cycles, as evidenced by local unemployment rates, on individual community colleges needs to be understood so that public resources can be used to strategically align the supply and demand of educational opportunities. A countercyclical relationship indicates the ability to serve citizens may be most restricted during economic downturns when demand is highest. A quantitative Pearson product-moment correlation design was used in this study to determine the magnitude and strength of the relationship of local unemployment rates and enrollments from 1990 through 2016 in North Carolina’s 58 community colleges. Total full-time enrollment in three main categories of instruction was examined. There was a very weak negative correlation between local unemployment rates and total full-time equivalent enrollments, curriculum full-time equivalent enrollments, and continuing education full-time equivalent enrollments using aggregated data. There was no statistically significant correlation between local unemployment rates and basic skills full-time equivalent enrollments using aggregated data. Disaggregated data at the individual college level produced mixed results. Four colleges were significantly correlated in every category. Ten colleges were significantly correlated in three categories. Eight colleges were significantly correlated in two categories. Nineteen colleges were significantly correlated in one category. Seventeen colleges were not significantly correlated in any categories.