Online Originals: Duplin County community college sees enrollment numbers go up despite pandemic

School Watch

KENANSVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — While most community colleges struggled in North Carolina because of the coronavirus pandemic, one local college saw its enrollment numbers go up.  

James Sprunt Community College officials say they’ve seen a 13.2% increase in enrollment since 2019. That’s something most colleges in Eastern North Carolina can’t say themselves. 

“I believe we can attribute that just to our faculty and our staff, and all the efforts that we made during this time to keep students safe,” said President of James Sprunt Community College Jay Carraway. 

According to nccommunitycollege.org, total community college enrollment in the state fell 11% in the fall of 2020 compared to the fall of 2020. James Sprunt Community College was included with four other community colleges in the state that did not experience this enrollment decline.

College officials attribute the increase to the efforts they made during the pandemic to keep students and staff safe. 

“As we continue to deal with the pandemic, we want to make sure that we do all we can to keep our students safe and to keep moving forward,” said Carraway. 

Carraway also said hey hope to keep the momentum going with another five- or sixth-percent growth for the following year. 

“Once we get our students on campus, we want to make sure we meet their needs, and they’re all different, but want to make sure we meet their needs,” said Carraway. 

Carraway says he’s proud of this accomplishment. 

“It’s a proud moment that during a time when we had a lot of obstacles to overcome, we were able to persevere, stay focused on our mission, which is providing opportunities for students in this community,” said Carraway.  

College student Toniyah Farrior said she started at James Sprunt at age 14 and wasn’t surprised by the increase in enrollments. 

“It’s really not surprising because the staff here is very helpful. They offer a lot of resources for the students,” said Farrior. 

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