A recent report published by the United States Department of Education shows that Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) is successfully living its mission, to offer quality, affordable education and training in response to evolving community needs by providing opportunities to individuals and organizations to develop their potential. The College was ranked as a top college, in the nation, by a survey that evaluated public two-year colleges for their effectiveness in serving low-income students with relatively high outcomes.
NVCC is one of twelve community colleges in the system of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU.) Only one other college in the system received this distinction for successful outcomes with low income students. NVCC ranked second of the top 25 colleges in this national survey.
Naugatuck Valley enrolls 41% of low-income students, with graduates averaging $34,100 in earnings 10 years after enrollment, and 75% of borrowers successfully paying down their loans three years after graduation.
Student success is the expectation at NVCC. The rate at which NVCC students get and hold onto jobs (or in some instances transfer) continues to climb. Data shows that the job placement of completers within a year of graduation has increased by more than 11 percentage points over the last three years. More than 98% of completers of degrees or credit certificates in high-demand career areas like advanced manufacturing and allied health have secured jobs or transferred to another higher education program relevant to their areas of study.
The College has just opened an expanded campus in Danbury where enrollment has increased by 23% since fall 2012. Enrollment in fall 2015 and spring 2016 reached 1,148, with 64% of Danbury students enrolled in courses only in Danbury. Now more than 2,000 students, many of whom are economically disadvantaged and might find a lengthy school commute unaffordable, have taken postsecondary courses at the Danbury Campus. NVCC predicts that Danbury Campus enrollment in fall 2016 will reach 1,200. Students now have access to 100+ course sections each semester at the Danbury Campus. These offerings have expanded by about 29% from fall 2012. Offerings include two complete degrees and two certificate programs, increasing educational options for Danbury students in high-demand career areas such as business, as well as general education, which provides the foundation students need to continue at four-year colleges.
The good news continues with Hispanic student enrollment which has increased by 12%. Now more than a quarter (26.4%) of NVCC students are Hispanic, which has resulted in NVCC’s becoming designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education. The College attributes this enrollment growth to a number of factors, but especially to its pre-college programs. On both campuses, enrollment overall benefits from campus access initiatives, such as evening bus service and UPasses. As of December 31, 2015, the service has provided 1,003,049 evening rides. North East Transportation of Waterbury estimates that the service eclipsed the mark of 1 million rides sometime around Christmas Day 2015.
NVCC’s outstanding rank in this report by the US Department of Education is validated by graduation trends. The number of students receiving degrees and credit certificates continues to grow at NVCC; 2015-16 awards totaled 1,371 associate degrees and certificates. Not only does NVCC remain the only Connecticut community college to top 1,000 awards in a year, but has done so, consistently, for the last five years.
“NVCC celebrates our students with joy and with a grateful heart for their achievements as we praise the contributions of our faculty and staff to their success,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis. “The college is making a difference in the lives of students, communities and Connecticut. I am so proud of our community colleges and the powerful work we are doing for the state.”
The complete list of the top 25 community colleges can be found here.