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10:42 AM Sat, Feb. 16th

MCC's enrollment growth among nation's fastest

KINGMAN - Enrollment growth at Mohave Community College has placed the college 24th nationally among community colleges.

MCC earned the ranking in an analysis of full-time student equivalency at 1,153 community colleges with enrollments of 5,000-9,999.

"The growth MCC has enjoyed over the last five years, and especially over the last two, is the result of diligent work on the part of the governing board, the previous and current administrations and the staff at the college," said MCC Chancellor Michael Kearns in a news release.

With 5,317 full-time students in fall 2006, MCC jumped 10.6 percent to 5,879 in fall 2007. It is the highest among similarly-sized Arizona community colleges, with Chandler/Gilbert Community College being the next highest Arizona school at 9.1 percent for a 32nd-place ranking.

Community College Week newspaper released the results, ranking the top 49 in each category. It considered only students who were enrolled in courses that led to an associate's degree, certificate or other formal award. Also, only those colleges accredited by a "regional or specialized post-secondary accreditation agency" were considered.

Kearns cited the development over the last five years of new career/technical degree programs, establishment of an assured-course matrix, which guarantees students will have access to the courses they need in established sequential courses of study, and enhancement of public awareness of the college and its offerings as actions for the growth.

"MCC had experienced a 10-year stretch of flat enrollment from 1993 to 2003 at a time when Mohave County was growing dramatically in population," Kearns said. "In 2002 the Board of Governors made a change in leadership and gave the new administration seven directives that were met within a five-year period, turning the college around."

The seven directives were the way for the board to set the tone for the future, Kearns said. They included maintaining financial stability for MCC, creating a master facility plan and financing new high-demand programs.

Beyond the training and certification for high-demand careers, MCC created the non-credit divisions as self-sustaining enterprises, free from taxpayer support, Kearns said.

"We are extremely proud to have achieved this high ranking for growth among the nation's community colleges and anticipate additional growth as the college continues to focus on the needs of its service areas and the people of Mohave County."