YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Eastern Gateway Community College is celebrating a big accomplishment: The school is now one of the fastest-growing colleges in the nation.
Students and staff at the Eastern Gateway Valley Center campus in downtown Youngstown celebrated the good news of the school’s increasing enrollment with three huge swirl cakes on Tuesday.
There are 3,087 students enrolled in the college for the spring semester, which is the highest enrollment since the school opened in the Valley in 2009.
The American Association of Community Colleges now ranks the school as the 16th-fastest growing college in its respective category.
“It’s a happy occasion for the college, as well as the community. We’re happy to be up here and happy to keep enrolling students,” said Anthony D’Apolito, operations manager for Eastern Gateway Community College.
Bolstered by a $14 million federal grant to offer course work in the health care field and other initiatives, enrollment has consistently increased every academic year.
“It was a much cheaper way of coming with their tuition. So once I started here, I actually fell in love with all the teachers here. That one-on-one interaction you get with the teachers,” said student Angelina Vitello.
“I love it. The classes are smaller than what a bigger university would be. You have a lot more one-on-one time with the teachers,” said student Nicholas Ruscoe.
Jessica Click is a recipient of the Gateway Grant, which allows high school graduates with a 2.5 or higher GPA to attend Eastern Gateway tuition-free for two years.
“It actually helped me out a heck of a lot. My mom isn’t even going through any debt right now with it either,” Click said.
The college currently offers more than 15 different associate degree programs, including criminal justice, teaching and nursing, and continues to add more.
Eastern Gateway has campuses in Steubenville, Youngstown and Warren, and three satellite locations.