Fall Semester Begins with 'Excitement and Promise'

Enrollment growth, full dorms mark start of Fall 2023


SARANAC LAKE – North Country Community College launched the Fall 2023 semester on Monday, Aug. 28 with an increase in enrollment, full residence halls, growth in online class offerings, and a series of late-starting courses designed to prepare students for in-demand career opportunities.

“A new academic year brings with it much excitement and promise,” said college President Joe Keegan. “Our hopes are that our students start the year off strong and finish it stronger.”Biology students at work at the Malone campus

This is North Country’s 56th year of serving the communities of Essex and Franklin counties. The college has three locations – Malone, Saranac Lake, and Ticonderoga – and is also offering classes this fall at Akwesasne, and in correctional facilities in Ray Brook and Malone, as part of the Second Chance Pell program.

Part of the State University of New York system, the college has 30 degree and certificate programs designed to give students the knowledge and skills to immediately enter the workforce or prepare them for transfer to a four-year college or university.

Encouraging Numbers

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 2 percent increase from last year’s 685 students on opening day. Incoming enrollment, which includes first-time, re-admit and transfer students, was up 5 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. Applications for Fall 2023 totaled 1623 as of Monday, up from 1500 in the fall of 2022.

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

In another positive sign, the college’s residence halls on the Saranac Lake campus are filled to capacity this fall, with more than 100 students from across the region and the state, plus a group of international students.

Popular programs

The flexibility of online class offerings is proving to be attractive, particularly for nontraditional students. North Country is seeing a strong increase in online enrollment this fall with 104 students, up from 64 last semester. Some of the biggest growth is in the college’s Human Services degree programs, including Child and Family Services and Chemical Dependency Counseling, which are all now available online.

In-person programs seeing strong numbers this fall include the college’s new Teaching Assistant certificate program, Massage Therapy, Environmental Science, Criminal Justice and Cybersecurity, Healthcare Administration, and Wilderness Recreation Leadership, among others.Nursing students in Saranac Lake are all smiles on the first day of classes

“Providing choices that serve a number of student needs, both online and on campus, is critical for our success,” said Sarah Maroun, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Many students prefer the experience of attending classes in person, while other students have demands on their time such as work and family, which makes attending college classes during the day quite a challenge. Our focus is to serve the needs of our students within our communities as best we can.”

Noncredit Trainings

Continuing its commitment to workforce development in the region, the college is offering a pair of noncredit courses that will start later this fall.

UpNCoding will lead another 12-week course at the Saranac Lake campus that is designed to prepare students for the modern software engineering workplace. This coding boot camp will run from Sept. 26 to Dec. 14. More information is available at www.nccc.edu/coding.

For the second consecutive fall, North Country will host a Wastewater Management Training course at the Saranac Lake campus. It’s designed to prepare students for career opportunities in wastewater management at the local, regional and national level. The 90-hour basic operations course runs from Sept. 22 to Nov. 18.  For details, visit www.nccc.edu/wastewater-managemement.

Additional Updates

  • The college is finalizing work on one of the biggest capital upgrades to its campuses in years: the modernization of nursing labs on all three campuses, along with upgrades to the science labs on the Saranac Lake and Malone campuses. These projects are expected to be completed later this fall.
  • More than $100,000 in funding has been provided to 100-plus students through the college’s 6 On Us and Opportunity Scholarships for the fall semester.
  • The college is piloting a new mentorship program called North Country Navigator. It features 18 student, staff and faculty mentors helping support new students as they orient and move through their programs.
  • Through a partnership with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, the college is offering three classes at Akwesasne this fall: Small Business Accounting, English Composition and Psychology of Personal Growth.
  • North Country will host its annual College Fair from 9 to 11 a.m. Oct. 5th at the Sparks Athletic Complex. More than 30 colleges and universities will be on hand, and the college is expecting to welcome hundreds of area high school students.