Enrollment increases at Alabama’s community and technical colleges surpassing national average

MONTGOMERY — Spring registrations for classes throughout the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) are higher than they were this time last year, building on the momentum from increased fall semester enrollment and marking the third consecutive year for enrollment increases statewide.

Fall semester enrollment in for-credit academic and technical programs rose more than 6 percent from 78,524 students in 2022 to 83,509 in 2023. This year’s fall enrollment is the highest the system experienced since Fall 2017, when for-credit enrollment was 81,139.

For-credit college enrollment defines enrollment in courses that are applied toward earning an associate degree or bachelor’s degree. About 40 percent of current ACCS students are earning credit to transfer to a four-year institution, while the largest number of career technical students are pursuing credentials in registered nursing, computer and information sciences, business administration and management, or manufacturing engineering technology.

Dual enrollment, which allows high school students to earn college credit at little to no cost, has increased nearly 17 percent from Fall 2022 to Fall 2023. Dual enrollment has increased more than 65 percent since 2015.

The current enrollment growth represents the third consecutive year of for-credit enrollment increases across the Alabama Community College System, bucking national trends for community colleges. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, community colleges nationally grew by about 4 percent in the fall term.

Registrations in noncredit workforce-connected programs offered through the Alabama Community College System are also on the rise. More than 27,700 residents are currently participating in training programs that yield industry-recognized credentials within weeks, contributing to Alabama\’s workforce development. Programs such as Adult Education’s Alabama Career Essentials (ACE), Mobilizing Alabama’s Pathways (MAPS), and the Innovation Center’s Skills for Success rapid training classes are playing a pivotal role in upskilling the workforce.

Spring registration at Alabama’s community and technical colleges is already showing a remarkable increase of more than 17 percent compared to the same period last year.

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

“Residents and employers are interested in the partnerships, wraparound services, scholarships and career services that their local community colleges are offering, and 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.”

Alabama’s 24 community and technical colleges offer a diverse range of certification, credential, dual enrollment, and degree programs in collaboration with leading industry partners.

Eddie Jordan, a construction supervisor who recently upskilled in a short-term construction class at Northeast Alabama Community College, shared his experience. “In just a short time I learned a lot, with safety being the biggest thing,” he said.

“The college goes out of the way of making sure the class is as convenient for us as possible. I think I’ll be with my company until the end, so the higher up I can move, the better.”

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