Texas community colleges put partial blame for lower enrollment on meningitis shot requirement

Dive Summary:

  • Last fall, Texas saw a 1.8% dip in community college enrollment, and while the leveling off mirrors national trends at two-year colleges as employment options improve, Pell Grant requirements tighten and tuition increases, some in the Lone Star State are placing part of the blame on another contributing factor.
  • A new state law passed last year requires all incoming college students at public institutions to prove they received a vaccination against bacterial meningitis at least 10 days before they register for classes, and some college administrators feel the vaccination's price (as much as $125 or more) is discouraging potential students.
  • In an attempt to counteract any enrollment declines due to the requirement, State Senator Jane Nelson has introduced a bill that would lower the age exemption for the vaccination from 30 to 21.

From the article:

The cost and hassle of a required vaccination shot for bacterial meningitis might be helping to drive down enrollments at Texas community colleges, another reminder of the impact of even seemingly minor barriers to college on underserved student populations. Last fall, about 13,000 fewer students were attending community college in the state compared to fall 2011, a dip of 1.8 percent, according to preliminary data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. ...

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Policy & Regulation
Top image credit: Flickr user StuSeeger