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The Diverted DreamCommunity Colleges and the Promise of Educational Opportunity in America, 1900-1985$
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Steven Brint and Jerome Karabel

Print publication date: 1989

Print ISBN-13: 9780195048155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195048155.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 11 May 2021

The Final Transformation in Massachusetts: Market Pressures, Fiscal Crises, and Business Influences, 1971-1985

The Final Transformation in Massachusetts: Market Pressures, Fiscal Crises, and Business Influences, 1971-1985

Chapter:
7 The Final Transformation in Massachusetts: Market Pressures, Fiscal Crises, and Business Influences, 1971-1985
Source:
The Diverted Dream
Author(s):

Steven Brint

Jerome Karabel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195048155.003.0012

The focus of this chapter is on the shift toward predominantly vocational enrollments in the 1970s, brought on by the combined pressures of market decline, state fiscal crisis, and the political ascendance of conservative business leaders. Nevertheless, it would be misleading to suggest that contrary forces were not in evidence at least in the first few years of the 1970s. The most important of these contrary pressures was the sheer growth of the community college and university systems, which, for a time, encouraged an increase in the absolute numbers of transfers. The community colleges in Massachusetts proved to be at least as attractive in a period of economic retrenchment as they had been in better times. Low-cost, close-to-home two-year colleges were a practical alternative to more expensive higher education. Between 1970 and 1973, the community colleges’ full-time enrollment increased by over one-third, and the other two tiers grew slightly less rapidly. As the system became more vocational in the late 1960s, it also grew. Because of this growth, the absolute number of community college students who transferred to four-year colleges increased, even though the transfer enrollment rates were slowly declining. The number of community college students transferring to the University at Massachusetts at Amherst, for example, increased from just 80 in 1964, when only seven community college campuses were open, to 425 in 1970 and then to 950 in 1972, when twelve campuses were operating at full capacity. In 1973, at the peak of transfer enrollments, 1,165 public two-year college students enrolled at the University of Massachusetts; 680 enrolled in the state colleges; and 525 enrolled in four-year private colleges in Massachusetts.2 Although never more than a small fraction of total community college enrollments, transfer rates did rise dramatically, from approximately 12.5 percent of the sophomore class in 1964 (a rate congenial to the original planners) to nearly 30 percent of the sophomore class in 1973 (Beales 1974). The nationwide decline in the market for college-educated labor in the early 1970s hit Massachusetts with slightly greater force than in other states, being reinforced by a recession in the newly emerging high-technology belt around Boston that was related to the winding down of the war in Southeast Asia.

Keywords:   Bay State Skills Corporation, Cape Cod Community College, De Anza College District, Engineering programs, Faculty-student ratios, Mount Wachusett Community College, North Shore Community College

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