MGCCC campus sees student population boom - - The News for South Mississippi

MGCCC campus sees student population boom


By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's West Harrison Center is enjoying record enrollment this year. There are currently 226 students, marking a 72 percent increase in the student population compared to last year.

"We're very proud of the fact that our enrollment in our academic classes has increased, as well as our enrollment in our career programs that we offer here at West Harrison," said Campus Dean Dr. Janice Poole. 

Poole said there are several reasons why enrollment at the center is at an all-time high. For instance, the popular Food Production and Management Technology program used to be offered only at night. Since January, the classes have been available during the day, as well.  And the campus has expanded its academic program by adding eight more courses.

"I think we have about 18 academic classes that we're offering now. We'll add a couple more to that this summer and in the fall, but those classes are quickly filling up," said Poole.

The campus is also offering more evening, weekend and short-term classes, giving students more flexibility.

"We joke around here that we're open about 24 hours a day. You can take classes anytime," said Poole.

The more convenient schedule benefits students like Carly Keech, who dreams of opening her own restaurant one day.   

"It's perfect with my work schedule. It fits right in. I work nights, so it makes it easy for me," said Keech.

Another big change on the campus has to do with degrees. Before, the campus could only award diplomas for its career programs. This year, the campus received permission to start awarding the two-year Associate of Art Degree.

"It is a big milestone for us. We're very excited about that," said Poole. "I think with our academic offerings, our increase in that and the increase in students services that we are able to provide, we're becoming more comprehensive."

West Harrison Center is located off Espy Avenue. Poole said the center now has more room for daytime classes. That's because due to budget cuts, Long Beach and Pass Christian High Schools no longer use the center for their vocational-technical programs.

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