The Alabama Community College System, including Gadsden State Community College, has once again set a new benchmark with an increase in student enrollment for the fall semester.
Fall semester enrollment in for-credit academic and technical programs at the 24 ACCS institutions rose more than 6 percent from 78,524 students in 2022 to 83,509 students in 2023. For-credit college enrollment defines enrollment in courses that are applied toward earning an associate degree or bachelor’s degree. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, community colleges nationally grew by about 4 percent for the fall term.
“Enrollment increases are great news that mean more residents are interested in training that will help them achieve success. But it’s more than just education and credentials at Alabama’s community and technical colleges that residents are after,” said Jimmy H. Baker, ACCS chancellor. “Residents and employers are interested in the partnerships, wraparound services, scholarships and career services that local community colleges are offering. We, by nature of being embedded in the community, must remain responsive to the local workforce needs. Supporting our communities is what this system was created for 60 years ago, and that is what we will continue to provide.”
At Gadsden State, enrollment numbers surpassed the national and the state average with an 8.7 percent increase. The College also saw a 7 percent increase in credit hour production. Gadsden State had 4,731 students taking 44,633 credit hours during the fall semester.
Of those students, about 48 percent are earning credit to transfer to a four-year institution while the largest number of career technical (including health science) students are pursuing credentials in Registered Nursing, Welding Technology and Industrial Automation.
“Our rising enrollment numbers are not just a statistic to us,” said Dr. Kathy Murphy, president of Gadsden State. “It’s a number that shows that we are reaching more students willing to continue their education at Gadsden State, where we transform lives for good, forever.”
Registrations in noncredit workforce-connected programs offered through Gadsden State’s Skills Training Division are also on the rise. During the 2022-23 academic year, Gadsden State had 514 individuals participate in training programs that provide hands-on training to those wanting to upgrade their skills or become better-trained employees. Of those students, 153 of them have participated in the Innovation Center’s Skills for Success rapid training classes.
“The Innovation Center’s programs and curriculum benefit Alabamians by strengthening the workforce,” Murphy said. “Gadsden State can provide the training necessary to fill high-demand jobs in a short amount of time. Our Skills Training Division and the Innovation Center are lightening the burdens experienced due to a worker shortage in Alabama.”
Gadsden State’s Dual Enrollment program continues to grow. This fall, Gadsden State had 1,052 dual-enrolled students vs. 865 in the fall of 2022. This is a 22 percent increase, which is above the ACCS increase of 17 percent.
Murphy said the expectation at Gadsden State is to always reach as many students as possible in their pursuit of education and training.
“Each student that steps onto any of our five campuses is a testament to the belief that education is the key to personal growth and progress,” she said. “We provide a boundless future of possibilities for our students at Gadsden State.”
For more information about Gadsden State and its academic, health science, career technical, skills training and adult education programs, visit gadsdenstate.edu. Spring semester begins Jan. 8.