Organizations sometimes carry preconceived notions about what they stand for, or what they are capable of accomplishing. For some, community colleges are not seen as a reliable pathway to success. But the truth is in the numbers.
The parent organization of NCC, the Community College System of New Hampshire, recently released data that showed a rising rate of retention and degree completion for NCC.
Data compiled by CCSNH administrators showed the College’s three-year graduation rate leading any state system in New England. Between 2013 and 2016, the total degree completion rate rose 6 percent. And these figures don’t include the nearly one-in-five students who transfer, or our part-time students.
The data for part-time students delivered more good news: Throughout 2013-2016, retention for part-timers grew 28 percent.
While the hard data is very welcome, the anecdotal stories are also immensely satisfying.
International students, first generation college students, and Dreamers are among our student ranks. Adults with GED and HiSET tests in hand routinely walk into Admissions eager to return to school and continue their education.
Non-credit career training courses such as the intensive 10-week Microelectronic Boot Camp have graduated students from age 18 through 63 - where every successful graduate is guaranteed a job interview with BAE Systems. Kyle Parris participated in the second graduating class in fall 2016, and now has a successful career at BAE. He also often returns to the College as a guest lecturer and lab assistant for the Microelectronics Boot Camp to inspire the next generation of skilled manufacturers.
“Early College” students take courses on campus while still in high school, earning college and sometimes high school credit at the same time. Early College student Maddie Russo collected three years of college credit at NCC before transferring to UNH Manchester this fall for her final year of her B.A. in Biotechnology.
Our students have also transferred to more than 500 four-year college and university programs nationwide. The College also has a dual enrollment agreement with the University System of New Hampshire institutions; UNH, Plymouth University, Keene State College, and Granite State College. Students can spend two years at NCC, and transfer all credits to a USNH institution of their choice to complete their Bachelor’s program.
While we hope to see more positive data and success stories, Nashua Community College is proud of its work to help students of all ages, demographics, and aspirations work toward their goals.
Lucille Jordan is President of Nashua Community College, located at 505 Amherst Street, Nashua.
This column originally ran in the October 2, 2017 edition of The Telegraph.