(Release: November 10, 2011) - Hagerstown Community College continues to see steady enrollment growth. For the fall semester, the number of students in credit programs has increased by four percent, or approximately 170 more students, over last fall.
“During difficult economic times, more and more students look to community colleges to help them prepare for careers that are in demand. In fact, half of all undergraduates in Maryland attend a community college,” said Guy Altieri, HCC president.
“We continue to see impressive growth in our science, technology, engineering and math programs,” Altieri added. “As we prepare to open our new STEM Building in January, we are well positioned to provide these students with the curricula and facilities needed to train them for good careers.”
Enrollment in HCC’s alternative energy technology program has increased more than 500 percent from last fall, for a total of 80 students who are on track to earn a degree or certificate in wind, solar, and geothermal technologies. Students studying biotechnology has increased by 16 percent. Overall, the number of students in technology programs has increased by 27 percent, for an additional 140 students.
Other areas of growth this fall include an 11 percent increase in the number of in-county high school students and 46 percent increase in the number of out-of-state students enrolled in HCC’s ESSENCE Program, which allows them to attend college while still in high school. Enrollment in web-based classes is up 20 percent.
The number of students being assisted through the Job Training Student Resources program has increased by 23 percent. This program helps low-income students who are 24 years of age or older.
Another support program, TRiO Student Support Services/Project Success, recently began at HCC through a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education and offers assistance to help low-income, first generation, or students with a disability. This program is now serving 166 students. (NOTE: Project Success is funded through the TRiO Student Support Services Program grant, which is intended to aid students in achieving their personal, educational, and financial goals. HCC received the $1.1 million dollar TRiO grant in fall 2010. Funds are distributed over a five-year period with 68 percent financed through federal sources, which amounts to $219,988 per year, and 32 percent financed through non-government sources, which amounts to $69,863 per year.)
Altieri points out that HCC is able to offer low-cost, high-quality education with a variety of options that are especially appealing in a troubled economy. Students who want to change careers can complete a short-term program in a year or less and be ready to seek immediate employment. Those who want to graduate from a four-year school can benefit financially by starting at HCC and transferring their academic credits.
In addition to serving record numbers of students, HCC is also documenting success rates among its students. The graduation rate for the most recent class of truck driving students in the Commercial Vehicle Transportation Program was 100 percent. The pass rate for associate degree nursing students who took the NCLEX-RN exam this past spring was 98 percent.
“Our mission is to provide options and support so members of our community can get the education and training they need to be successful, especially during difficult economic times,” said Altieri.