WELLS — York County Community College President Barbara Finkelstein didn’t need anyone to tell her that the college’s enrollment roster has been growing by leaps and bounds. Still, she said in a telephone interview on Monday, it was a happy surprise when she opened up The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual Almanac of Higher Education 2017-18 recently to see that YCCC was mentioned as being among the 20th fastest growing public associate and baccalaureate/associate institutions, between the years of 2005 and 2015.

At number 19, YCCC joins the ranks of of Northwest Louisiana Technical College at Minden, the fastest growing college with 427.8 percent growth, and South Texas College, which has only increased it’s enrollment by 111.7 percent but its 2015 enrollment was the highest of the 20 listed schools at 34,371, according to the almanac published Aug. 18.

During the 10 year period the almanac bases its ranking on, YCCC’s growth was 101.1 percent, with a student body of 874 in 2005, which increased to 1,758 in 2015.

“I was shocked. I had no idea we were in there,” Finkelstein said after she saw YCCC’s name in the almanac. She added “We’re the only institution of higher education mentioned from New England.”

“It shows the college has come a long way from 2005 to 2015,” she said. “In those 10 years, that’s a lot of growth.”

And the college’s increasing enrollment didn’t end in 2015. In fall 2016, YCCC grew another 4 percent, said Finkelstein.

“We broke 1,800,” she said — last year’s enrollment was 1,826 — “that’s an all-time high.”

Growth may not continue this year.

“I would suspect we’re not going up this year because the economy is so good,” said Finkelstein. “People are staying in the workplace.”

But the school is ready for continued growth of its student body if and/or when it occurs.

The school continues to diversify its offerings — like a gerontology and hospitality program that began last year, and an American Studies program starting this fall — as a way to attract new students and fulfill employment needs in Maine’s economy.

In addition, all but the finishing touches are completed on YCCC’s newest addition, the Pratt & Whitney building, which sports eight new classrooms, a lecture hall and a conference room. The new addition, which will be open to students when the new semester starts Sept. 5, will provide capacity for a total of about 2,500 students to attend the college.

— Associate Editor Dina Mendros can be reached at 282-1535, ext. 324, or [email protected]

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