BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Northeast State Community College has posted its highest enrollment since before the COVID-19 pandemic, with more 5,472 students registered for the fall semester.

The number represents an increase of more than 400 compared to fall 2022, according to a news release. Strong enrollment gains came at the school’s Kingsport and Elizabethton campuses.

The school’s assistant director of admissions and records, Michelle Stanley, said the college has developed strong relationships with regional high schools and guidance counselors to promote enrollment and work with students individually to meet their needs. 

“Our college works so well together sharing the same message to keep students moving forward in reaching their goals,” she said.

The school also works hard on retention of existing students, student advisor Wendell Lowe said.

Faculty and staff advisors, along with success coaches reach out to students beginning early in each semester. Lowe said frequent questions from students involved knowing how many semesters they needed to complete their technical certificate or associate degree.

Combination welding student Gethin Russell just started at the college this semester. He said both of his parents went to Northeast State and that he always heard good things about the college.

Russell said he’s currently taking two classes at Northeast State while working a full-time job. He said he likes the flexibility.

“You can either be going to class all day, or just doing two classes like me,” Russell said.
“But I know it’s manageable to do both and I think that’s why I like Northeast State.”

Theater major DJ Craig started at Northeast State in the Spring after being in the military. He said he looked at both East Tennessee State University and Northeast State’s Theater departments before choosing.

“After talking to Brad McKenzie, who is the head of the theater department, I talked with him and he pointed me in the direction of where to look at, compare the two programs,” Craig said. “And Northeast State was a better theater program, at least at first starting out with and it was a little bit cheaper than ETSU.”

Craig has already acted in a play at Northeast State and is auditioning for another one.
He hopes to get the experience he needs for his career.

“I might do screen acting or stage performance, but I have a goal of going into voice acting,” Craig said.

The top majors of enrolled students were Tennessee Transfer Pathway associate of science degree option, university parallel curriculum, nursing, and industrial operations. Northeast State awards degrees of associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied science, and technical certificates.