Gateway Continues to Serve Highest Number of Community College Students in Connecticut

Friday, September 26, 2014

NEW HAVEN, CT  – Three years after the historical relocation to a new, urban campus Gateway Community College (GCC) remains the largest community college in Connecticut, a distinction it has held since 2012. Enrollment at Gateway steadily increased since 2001 from approximately 3,000 students to 8,200 attending this fall in spite of adverse economic indicators, recent state-wide policy changes on remediation for underprepared students, and a national trend toward lower college enrollment. According to the U.S. Census Bureau college attendance has dropped by 960,000 over the last two years.

“The college works hard to make sure the academic needs of all students are addressed,” said GCC President, Dorsey Kendrick. “The diversity of the students who come through our doors is amazing, and the fact that we can help change lives through education and training, replacing helplessness with hopefulness, is one of our greatest joys. We are highly committed to our open door policy and to creating pathways internally. and with our partners in the community,  that allow students to acquire the academic competencies they need to be successful in their pursuits."     

According to Dr. Vincent Tong, GCC Director of Institutional Research, there is a significant increase in younger students, bringing the average age to 26.  There has also been a 115 percent increase in the number of students enrolled through GCC’s High School Partnership program, a collaboration with area high schools to allow high school juniors and seniors to access college courses.  Gateway continues to become increasingly diverse. About 26 percent of the student body is African-American and 22 percent is Hispanic. The college also attracts students from far ad wide. While a substantial area of growth comes from students living in New Haven—up 9.8 percent, GCC also saw a substantial increase in students from towns outside the traditional service area, making up almost 2,500 of the 8,200 students attending GCC this fall. 

While many factors account for the 13-year growth trend, college officials cite the importance of addressing student needs and working hard to make sure the college experience is as pleasant and productive as possible.  Along with a modern, green campus and smart classrooms, they cite the establishment of a Student Success Center one-stop where students can take care of the business end of things, proactive New Student Admissions and Registration (NSAR) and student orientation programs, and the existence of an aggressive social media outreach that engages students in real time as some of the attractions that make Gateway Community College a popular choice.  

Paying attention to the tough issues is a priority. "We pay particular attention to security and parking and traffic during peak times," Kendrick explains. "Safe and easy access to campus is a priority and we work very closely with city officials to address the challenges as quickly as possible."  These efforts do not go unnoticed. Most recently, an independent security audit across all 17 Connecticut colleges and universities cited Gateway's security set-up as the best in the system and a model for other institutions.

"It is an honor to serve the citizens of this great region, and beyond. Of course, we are proud of the recognitions and of the staff and faculty that work hard to serve the students," Kendrick said. "But we don't rest on our laurels. We celebrate and then we keep moving because applications for the spring semester are already coming in and there is still more to do if we are going to maintain our excellence. "

Over the past year, Gateway Community College has received several honors and recognitions for its work on behalf of its students, including the Greater New Haven Chamber’s Workplace Wellness Award and Community Partnership Award and the American Lung Association’s Leadership Board Award for becoming the state’s first smoke-free college campus.