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Gadsden State, ACCS report for-credit enrollment increases

Gadsden, Ala. – During a time of overall decrease in collegiate enrollment, Gadsden State Community College has seen an increase in enrollment during both fall and spring semesters at 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

“Nationally, colleges and universities have experienced more than a 2 percent overall decrease in enrollment,” said Dr. Kathy Murphy, president. “Fortunately, that has not been the case at Gadsden State. We are one of only 12 of our sister community colleges to exceed our enrollment when compared to the same semesters during the 2020-21 academic year. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our students, faculty and staff.”

Overall, the Alabama Community College System, which includes 24 community and technical colleges, had a 6 percent increase in enrollment from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our numbers are continuing to show a clear message that every community college in the state is here to serve the students and the businesses in their communities, and the people we have at each of our colleges have been committed to providing programs and services that their local students, business and industry need and are looking for,” said Jimmy H. Baker, ACCS chancellor.   

Nearly 144,000 students received education or training in a community or technical college statewide. This included 101,094 students enrolled in traditional, for-credit college classes, which represented an increase of 4,700 students from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021. Among programs with the greatest enrollment increases were Welding, Vehicle/Auto Body Technologies and Business.    

At Gadsden State, 4,308 students were enrolled during the fall semester with 3,705 enrolled so far during the spring semester. A second mini term begins March 4 with more students expected to enroll at the College. The Top 3 programs at Gadsden State are Registered Nursing, Electrical Technology and Office Administration.

“Recruitment, enrollment and retention are everyone’s work at Gadsden State, and our employees are doing their part,” Murphy said. “We all are certainly committed and it shows.”

Dr. Aletta Williamson, dean of Enrollment and Retention, also gives credit for the enrollment increase to employee commitment.

“Our faculty and staff have worked exceptionally hard to serve students during these challenging times,” she said. “We are so thankful that our students have chosen Gadsden State. We are confident that we have the resources in place to assist them with completing their academic or technical programs.”

Gadsden State continues to be one of the most affordable higher education opportunities in the state at just $164 per credit hour for tuition and fees.

“Our state community college system allowed our colleges to freeze tuition for the 2021-22 academic year, and Gadsden State was able to provide additional financial support to support our students during the pandemic,” Murphy said. “I think the tuition freeze and financial support factored into the enrollment increase.”

Gadsden State also had a 57 percent increase in dual enrollment, which allows students to take collegiate courses while simultaneously earning college and high school credits.

“ACCS announced this summer that the number of scholarships available to dual enrollment students would increase and would extend to include academic courses related to science, technology, engineering and math programs,” Murphy said.

ACCS recently announced that more than 19,000 Alabama high school students participated in dual enrollment programs.

“We are proud of the increase in the number of area students receiving accessible, affordable academic and career technical training opportunities at Gadsden State,” she said. “We hope to continue seeing an increase in enrollment in all of the programs we offer.”

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