Gadsden State exceeds statewide enrollment growth for community colleges

Fall semester enrollment in for-credit academic and technical programs rose by more than 6% from last year in the Alabama Community College System’s 24 institutions — and the numbers were even higher for Gadsden State Community College.

GSCC saw 8.7% growth in its fall enrollment, according to a news release from the college.

Both figures outpaced the roughly 4% national growth rate for community colleges during the semester, as compiled by the National Student Clearinghouse.

ACCS reported 83,509 students enrolled in for-credit courses (applied toward associate or bachelor’s degrees) this fall, up from 78,524 in 2022.

“Enrollment increases are great news that mean more residents are interested in training that will help them achieve success,” system Chancellor Jimmy Baker said in a news release about the growth, “but it’s more than just education and credentials at Alabama’s community and technical colleges that residents are after.”

Baker said they’re looking for “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.”

Gadsden State had 4,731 students taking 44,633 credit hours this fall, according to college records. That’s a 7% increase in credit hour production.

About 48% of those students were in courses designed to transfer to four-year institutions.

Most of the school’s career tech students were seeking industrial automation, registered nursing or welding technology credentials.

“Our rising enrollment numbers are not just a statistic to us,” said GSCC President Kathy Murphy. “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.”

GSCC is also seeing increases in its noncredit workforce-connected programs and its dual enrollment program.

College records showed 514 students enrolled in in Skills Training Division programs, which provide hands-on training to employees seeking to upgrade their current skills, with 153 of those choosing 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.”

The dual-enrollment program, which allows high school students to earn college credits, had 1,052 students this fall, compared to 865 in 2022. That’s a 22% increase, compared to a statewide increase of 17% for all ACCS institutions.

Murphy said Gadsden State seeks to reach as many students as possible. “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.”

Visit for more information about Gadsden state and its programs. The spring semester begins on Jan. 8.

This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Gadsden State outpaces statewide community college enrollment growth