Stanly Community College sees enrollment increase
Stanly Community College’s fall 2019 curriculum enrollment numbers increased 6.5 percent compared to the prior year.
“We were pleased with that increase,” said SCC President Dr. John Enamait. “It’s better to be up than down since we’re funded based on our enrollment.”
SCC’s fall curriculum enrollment increase actually outpaced those of other colleges across the state that also experienced enrollment growth. According to a press release from the N.C. Community College system, enrollment climbed 4.4 percent across North Carolina’s community colleges in the fall of 2019, the first increase in nearly a decade. Out of the 58 community colleges across the state, 53 reported increases.
“We’re closing the skills gap with this level of growth,” Peter Hans, president of the NC Community College System, said. “It means more people are on their way to meaningful careers and brighter futures. It means more people are recognizing the value and quality of a community college education.”
SCC also saw an increase in enrollment for students taking continuing education courses, which went up 20.48 percent over the prior fall, Enamait said.
“Whichever way you slice it, we are seeing healthy increases in our enrollment,” he said.
Enamait said community college enrollments often follow the unemployment rate. Though traditionally community college enrollments usually increase during a recession and decline during a strong economy, he said community colleges are currently bucking the trend thanks to “unprecedented economic growth that the country is seeing.”
Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly), who regularly receives routine state community college reports, said SCC is consistently one of the top community colleges in the state in terms of enrollment numbers.
Though people need general education beyond high school, they also need technical skills that will enable them to get good, high-paying jobs, Sasser noted.
“We have enough doctors and lawyers and pharmacists, what we need is workers,” Sasser said. “We need skilled electricians and mechanics and others.”
He thinks many colleges, including SCC, are seeing enrollment growth thanks to Career and College Promise programs, where high school students take tuition-free college classes that can lead to college credit and job training, along with a renewed focus on skilled workforce training programs.
Enamait also contributed the college’s growth to its success coaches, who are assigned to each student and works with them throughout their time at SCC to make sure they are on the correct path to earning their degree.
“I think some of the growth is through CCP, but I think some of the growth is through our concentrated efforts on student attention and trying to make sure they have all the supports that they need,” Enamait said.
In addition to enrollment growth, Enamait said over the past five years, the college’s graduation rate increased more than 250 percent.