Gateway Community and Technical College Among U.S. Fastest Growing Public Community Colleges

Gateway Community and Technical College is among the 50 fastest-growing public community colleges its size in the nation, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Education enrollment data.

In recently published rankings by Community College Week, GCTC ranked as No. 36 among the top 50 fastest growing community colleges with enrollment of between 2,500 and 4,999 students. The rankings were based on enrollment growth between fall 2007 and fall 2008. Gateways enrollment grew 11.1 percent for that period, from 3,130 to 3,477 students.

It will be very interesting to see how we rank next year, because we are growing even more rapidly now than we were a year ago, said Gateway President and CEO G. Edward Hughes. Enrollment for fall 2009 was 4,205 students, a 21 percent increase compared to fall 2008. What is even more dramatic is that these students are taking more credit hours so the impact is even greater on our faculty and staff. We were fortunate to be able to hire nine new faculty this year to help meet the demand.

Dr. Hughes attributed the growth to several factors, including the economic downturn which drives students back to school to modernize skills, the colleges recent accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Gateways value proposition.

SACS accreditation means the credits our students earn will transfer more smoothly to four-year colleges and universities anywhere in the country, Dr. Hughes said. Students understand that they can stay in the region, earn an associates degree at Gateway, save thousands on tuition costs and living expenses, and then transfer elsewhere to complete a baccalaureate degree. Alternatively, they can pursue a technical credential and be job ready in less than a year, if they want to go directly to the job market.

Preliminary Spring 2010 enrollment totaled 3,710 students on Jan. 28 and does not yet include students who will enroll in shorter sessions that begin later in the spring. The preliminary figure is up more than 6 percent from Spring 2009s final enrollment, which included the shorter sessions.
We expect final spring enrollment this year of about 4,000 students, representing an increase of about 15 percent, Dr. Hughes added.

Gateway was the only community college in Kentucky to rank in the top 50 for the 2007-08 time period regardless of total enrollment. Locally, the University of Cincinnati-Clermont ranked No. 46 in the 2,500-4,999 student category for the same period.