HAVERHILL — Northern Essex Community College is reporting it topped the state’s public community colleges with the largest increase in enrollment this fall.
Northern Essex, which has campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence, reported its full-time equivalency, which measures enrollment in full-time figures, was up 5 percent over fall 2011. The college’s FTE increased by 227 students, from 4,255 to 4,482.
It was the highest increase among the state’s 15 community colleges.
In unduplicated headcount, Northern Essex tied for top place with Bunker Hill Community College in Boston with a 4 percent gain, increasing from 7,036 to 7,312, or by 276 students.
The college’s largest increase was among Hispanic students, according to NECC President Lane Glenn of Amesbury.
“Hispanic students now represent 34 percent of our student population, a 16.2 percent increase in just one year. This isn’t surprising since the number of Hispanics living in the communities we serve has also increased,” Glenn said in a release.
More recent high school graduates are also choosing to start at Northern Essex, according to fall enrollment figures. High school enrollment from Amesbury High School was up 94 percent, officials said. Elsewhere, high school enrollments increased 53 percent from Lawrence, 30 percent from Haverhill, 27 percent from Methuen, 50 percent from North Andover and similarly from high schools in New Hampshire.
“It’s all about value,” Glenn said in the release. “High school students and their families are recognizing the value of starting at a community college. One recent Northern Essex graduate, who received her liberal arts associate degree here and transferred to Salem State College for her bachelor’s, was buying a house while her peers were worried about paying off college loans.”
Top majors at the college for fall 2012 include general studies, liberal arts, business transfer, criminal justice, business management, engineering science and early childhood education.
For more information on programs and courses offered at Northern Essex, visit www.necc.mass.edu or contact enrollment services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-556-3700.