NWSCC sees increase in fall enrollment
October 02, 2018

MUSCLE SHOALS & PHIL CAMPBELL, ALA. — Northwest Shoals Community College (NWSCC) enrolled 3,543 credit students for the fall 2018 semester, which is an increase of 101 students, or just under three percent, from fall 2017 figures (3,442).

NWSCC sees increase in fall enrollment with the help of Distance Education.
NWSCC sees increase in fall enrollment with the help of Distance Education.

According to NWSCC President Glenda Colagross, in order to continue to grow, the College must continue to listen to the needs of traditional and non-traditional students in the area. “It is always exciting to see growth in our student population, but to continue this growth, we have to be flexible,” said Colagross. “The needs of our students have changed so much through distance education. Many of our traditional and non-traditional students prefer taking classes online instead of in the classroom. It is all about flexibility and convenience.” 

The largest increase in student enrollment came from students taking only distance education courses. From fall of 2017 to fall of 2018, NWSCC saw a 65% increase in distance only students. Students taking at least one distance course increased by 47%.

“Our students are more technology driven now than ever before,” said April Cookson, Director of Distance Education. “For the first time this fall, we took our capacity limits off our distance course offerings, and you can see that there is a growing student population that prefers the online format.”

Also, NWSCC reports significant enrollment increases in high school dual enrollment and nursing. The dual enrollment student population increased approximately 28%, and Associate Degree Nursing students increased approximately 17%. 

According Tom Carter, Assistant Dean of Admissions/Recruitment, much of the increase in high school dual enrollment can be attributed to new high school partnerships. “So many high school students are seeing the benefit of taking college courses while in high school,” stated Carter. “Our high school partners are doing a great job making sure their students have access to Northwest-Shoals to fast-track their college experience and be successful.”

The 3,543 credit student headcount is an unofficial student census following the registration of all dual enrollment high school students. Credit student enrollment does not include students who may be auditing a class or enrolled in non-credit workforce training courses. Fall semester enrollment numbers are not official until verified by the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) at the end of the semester.