Cleveland State Tops In Tennessee, Enrollment Surge Continues

Cleveland State Tops In Tennessee, Enrollment Surge Continues

Monday, February 10, 2020 12:00 AM
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(Cleveland, TN) – With many colleges across the state of Tennessee seeing their enrollment numbers drop this past year, Cleveland State Community College is leading the enrollment charge in the Volunteer State once again.

For the fourth consecutive semester, Cleveland State saw its full-time enrollment (FTE) grow. In an economy in which colleges tend to see student body size take a dip, Cleveland State has the highest is enrollment growth by percentage among community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents system.

Compared to numbers at Cleveland State just one year ago, the college has grown nearly five percent (4.9%) in number of full-time students choosing the college for its educational needs. This past fall semester, Cleveland State was tops in the state with another 6.6 percent enrollment jump from the previous year.

“I'm concerned that some may not think that yet another semester with enrollment growth is special,” said Cleveland State Community College President Dr. Bill Seymour. “We are bucking the trend in huge ways. This is four consecutive semesters of growth. The trend across the state and the US is still a slight decline in enrollment in community colleges.” 

Enrollment growth plus improving retention has caused Cleveland State to double its graduation rate in the past 6 years. These successes played a big role in the Tennessee Board of Regents system naming Cleveland State Community College the state’s College of the Year this past March. Among the newer elements receiving credit for improving retention is the implementation of Student Success Coaches at the college.

Cleveland State Community College’s Janlyn Underwood is one of eight Student Success Coaches on staff helping incoming freshman. Early Childhood Education student Riley White is one of Underwood’s students. “She is the most helpful person,” said White. “She truly takes her time and gets to know her students she works with. Her guidance and support have made my first year at Cleveland State incredible.”

Beginning this past year, Cleveland State has implemented Student Success Coaches for each first-year college student. From their admission application to the first day of class, each one of these students only works with their coach. “They are one-stop people,” added Seymour. “From financial aid to course advisement and everything in between, incoming freshmen will see that Cleveland State will walk them through the process and help them get their academic careers underway. Students don’t need to get the run-around when coming to college. We are here to help them get a collegiate education.”


In addition to the Director, Judy Nye, Cleveland State has seven different specialists in place to work with each new student. They include Elizabeth Ann Brown, Chad Cameron, Marsha Foster, Eric Harris, Haley Hendrix, Judy Nye, Rachel Scruggs, and Underwood.


Born and bred in Cleveland, Tennessee, Cleveland State freshman Samuel Hooker has taken full advantage of the successful Student Success model. “Coming from Walker Valley High School and enrolling in Mechanical Engineering, my Student Success Coach made sure that I got stuff like my financial aid done on time,” said Hooker. “She keeps in touch with me and is a huge help with any question I’ve had.”

Also playing a part in the upward climb at Cleveland State is the construction of its first new academic building in 45 years. The two-story Health and Science Center will be located at the corner of Adkisson Drive and Norman Chapel Road on the CSCC main campus in Cleveland, Tennessee. Other factors such as the birth of the state’s first Community College Honors College, the recent success of student-athletic programs, and enrollment increases in the Tennessee Valley Early College (TVEC), Tennessee Reconnect, and Dual Enrollment programs have all played a role in Cleveland State’s high numbers.

“Our growth is a product of strategic efforts by our faculty and staff over multiple years,” added Seymour. “This does not happen by accident.  We have changed how we do business with one goal in mind: To help every student succeed.”

Students are currently enrolled online and on-campus through the CSCC main campus in Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as CSCC’s Athens Center in Athens, Tennessee and Monroe County Center in Vonore, Tennessee. For more information, contact CSCC’s Director of Communications and Marketing Don Foley at 423-473-2341 or

CSCC is the College System of Tennessee’s reigning College of the Year. The local institution received the Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition, or SOAR, Award after being named the College of the Year honor during an awards ceremony last March. CSCC directly serves Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, and Polk Counties in Tennessee.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving more than 110,000 students.


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