Alamance Community College posted an enrollment increase for 2019-2020, which includes summer 2019, fall 2019 and spring 2020, and as such is among a minority of North Carolina community colleges to experience such growth for the academic year.
The rise in FTE enrollment is an estimated 7.33% over the same period last year, according to the NC Community College System Office. This places ACC’s increase at 12th highest among all 58 North Carolina community colleges, outpacing Piedmont Community College (6.23%), Guilford Technical Community College (5.63%), Durham Tech (5.0%), and Wake Technical Community College (2.43%), and Forsyth Tech (0.08%).
The numbers are based on budget FTE (Full-Time Equivalency) for the purposes of full-time enrolled students. FTE is the figure used by the State of North Carolina to determine the amount of funding each higher educational institution receives. The higher the FTE equates to more financial stability in its budget.
Enrollment in summer term 2020, which began May 18, is showing promising signs as well, despite a continuance of nearly all classes being conducted completely online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Early indications are that the FTE increase is up 9 percent over summer 2019.
ACC administrators believe the rise in FTE enrollment goes beyond normal expectations.
“Some of our projected summer increase is due to an increase in university transfer and non-degree-seeking students. This information suggests an increase in university students enrolling in ACC online classes this summer at greater numbers than in the past,” said Dr. Connie Wolfe, Vice President of Instruction.
ACC administrators says that a number of factors may be attributed to this enrollment increase:
- The College has recently added several programs to its curriculum offerings to address the needs of local business and industry.
- The Histotechnology program was launched in fall 2018 in response to the Life Sciences/Diagnostic sector’s need for qualified histotechnologists.
- The Agricultural Biotechnology program was added to supplement both the College’s longstanding Biotechnology and Horticulture Technology programs.
- Biotechnology, Histotechnology, and Agricultural Biotechnology will be housed in ACC's new Biotechnology Center of Excellence facility, scheduled to open in the fall of 2022.
Said Dr. Scott Queen, Executive Vice President: “We are growing. We continue to add relevant programs and state-of-the-art facilities.”
Queen said that unemployment is drastically on the rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As with any economic downturn, many individuals turn to the community college to prepare themselves for a new career.
“Although we are exercising extreme caution, we continue to develop innovative ways, through creative scheduling and distance learning, to serve our students,” added Queen. “We exist to serve the citizens of Alamance County and we will continue to do everything possible to provide the needed training for our community.”