Gateway Again Ranks Among Nations Fastest Growing Community Colleges

Gateway Community and Technical College ranks among the 50 fastest growing community colleges its size in the nation, according to Community College Week. This is the second consecutive year Gateways growth has put it in the top 50 ranking.

Based on a 21 percent increase in enrollment between fall 2008 and fall 2009, Gateway ranked 33rd on the list of fastest growing two-year colleges with enrollment between 2,500 and 4,999 students. Gateways fall 2009 enrollment grew to 4,206 students from 3,477 in fall 2008.

Gateway moved up three spots in the most recent ranking. A year ago, the college ranked 36th in the nation, based 11.1 percent enrollment growth between 2007 and 2008.
Gateways enrollment for the current fall semester is at an all-time high, exceeding 4,700 students, up 13 percent from last year. The current enrollment growth adds to dramatic increases in the number of students attending Northern Kentuckys only public two-year, regionally accredited community and technical college.

Overall enrollment at Gateway has grown 550 percent in the past decade. The college expects continued rapid growth in light of its proposed new Urban Campus in downtown Covington and expanded campuses in Edgewood and Boone County.

Gateway President/CEO Ed Hughes attributes the growth to a variety of factors. Community college enrollment is up nationwide as more people return to school to update their skills during these tough economic times, Hughes said.

Were also seeing dramatic increases in the number of recent high school graduates under the age of 24 as more and more younger students choose to begin their college careers with Gateway, complete an associates degree and then transfer to a four-year college to complete a bachelors degree, Hughes added. By doing so, they will save as much as 40 percent of the cost of a four-year degree. They understand the value that Gateway offers.

Gateway offers a variety of programs that lead to high-wage, high-growth jobs in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, business, and information technology. The college has developed numerous transfer agreements with senior institutions that enable students to transfer smoothly to a four-year college. Gateways regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools also facilitates the transfer of credit to senior institutions.

We tell our students they can start at Gateway and go anywhere, and more and more of them are starting at GCTC and then enjoying success at a four-year school, Hughes said.

Continuing a 10-year trend, community college enrollment grew 8.3 percent nationwide during the 2008-2009 time period, according to a Community College Week analysis.