North Country Community College is not in same situation as SUNY Potsdam

Although it is part of the State University of New York system, North County Community College is not facing the same hardships as Potsdam and other four-year institutions of higher education in the system.

SUNY Potsdam announced a plan to cut 14 programs and close some of its buildings as the college faces declining enrollment numbers. Although community colleges are part of the SUNY network, the main difference is most have two-year programs and rely on county support rather than state support.

The Telegram reached out to NCCC’s Director of Communications Chris Knight to get further insight as to the state of the institution, which has campuses in Malone, Saranac Lake and Ticonderoga.

“We have seen some very positive trends this fall, with growth in applications and incoming student enrollment, full residence halls, flexible program offerings, new non-credit courses (coding, wastewater management) geared to prepare students for in-demand career opportunities, and a successful launch to a mentorship program that’s helping new students get started in their programs,” Knight wrote in an email. “We are finishing work on major upgrades to the science and nursing labs on our campuses. We have seen, and are extremely grateful for, increased support from our county sponsors this year.”

The fall semester began August 28 at NCCC, and at the time, the college issued a press release.

Final enrollment numbers won’t be available for several more weeks, but North Country’s fall semester started Monday with a total of 696 students, a two percent increase from last year’s 685 students on opening day, the release said, and incoming enrollment, which includes first-time, re-admit and transfer students, was up five percent, from 402 last year to 421. The increase in overall enrollment corresponds with a rise in applications to the college, which are up for the third consecutive semester, according to the release, and applications for Fall 2023 totaled 1,623 (at the time of the release), up from 1500 in the fall of 2022.

The aforementioned statistics refer to NCCC’s overall numbers from all campuses.

Knight told the Telegram that since the issue involving SUNY Potsdam focuses on overall SUNY system trends, it wouldn’t be NCCC’s place to comment on those aspects. He did point out the positive trend for NCCC in the August press release.

“We are encouraged by the steady growth in applications and enrollment, and we will continue working hard to ensure this positive trajectory continues,” Kyle Johnston, vice president for marketing and enrollment, said in the release. “It’s a strong indicator that the value and affordability of an education at North Country resonate with the people of our communities.”


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