Greenfield Community College Reverses 13-Year Enrollment Decline with 9 Percent Gains

September 18, 2023

Greenfield Community College is opening its Fall 2023 semester with palpable enthusiasm and an eye to the future. After a decade of enrollment declines, President Michelle Schutt is proud to report record-setting gains for the new academic year.

Greenfield Community College enrollment has increased 8.6 percent for the Fall 2023 semester over this time last year, the College's largest percentage increase in 13 years. GCC also received its highest number of applications since 2018, demonstrating the community's historical investment in the college and, in turn, GCC's commitment to responding to the local economy.

"The growth GCC has experienced this fall represents an incredible opportunity for the entire Pioneer Valley," said GCC President Michelle Schutt. "Education changes family trees and educated citizens lead to economic growth for communities. An increase in local college enrollment represents immense potential for regional advancement."

The college attributes its tangible enrollment successes to intersecting initiatives, all aimed at improving the student experience. This past year, GCC implemented a new course schedule, designed for hybrid learning, increased workforce development offerings, expanded its case management advising model, and implemented technology solutions to promote retention through transparency of student data. These efforts were furthered by a generous state budget and the launch of MassReconnect, aimed at getting our non-traditional students back to school and back to work.

"There is no singular solution to reverse a sustained enrollment decline. Under President Schutt's leadership, the college took bold action in a number of critical areas simultaneously, including launching a new schedule and guided pathways," said Chet Jordan, Provost.

Through GCC's improved class scheduling, students are able to pursue more college credits in a timely manner, which has resulted in an increase in credits taken by students this semester. This trend is expected to continue at GCC in the coming semesters as well, as the College continues to implement Guided Pathways, a program that improves student schedules and credit efficiency, reducing time and costs for students.

"We know that our students face many challenges while attending GCC, which is why we have expanded the wraparound services that we offer. In just the past few weeks we have worked with students to get them internships. In the past year we brought on 24/7 counseling services, and have enhanced our technology lending library to include hotspots for students who need them. It is wonderful to see so many students engaging with these resources so that they can be successful at GCC," said Patrick Tanner, Interim Dean for Enrollment Management.

GCC has also dedicated itself to a comprehensive student experience, including an improved application that has made it easier and faster to apply to GCC.

In addition, student support staff have focused on one-on-one work with students through the admission process, tailoring the GCC experience to the needs of each student individually. Additional services have also been developed to help students once they are enrolled, including a new internship program and a technology lending library that includes new computers thanks to a $100,000 donation from the GCC Foundation.

Statewide support through MassReconnect, the Commonwealth's free community college program for residents 25 and older, has helped improve enrollment, as well. As of Sept. 15, 120 students have benefited from MassReconnect at GCC, with 20 percent of those students being brand-new to the College.

To honor the MassReconnect students, Pres. Schutt will be holding a celebration for them at GCC during the week of Sept. 25.