NACC Earns Top Rank in Student Retention


Choosing a college that is the best fit is an important decision for any student.  Picking a college where faculty and staff are helpful, encouraging, and supportive is certainly a part of that decision.  A recent study by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) indicates that Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) may be the right college choice for many students.  The ACHE study found that NACC was number one among community colleges in the state in retaining students.  Retention of students refers to the percentage of students that either complete a degree or certificate program or return to continue that path in the next academic year.  Retention data is taken from the enrollment and completion numbers of two consecutive fall terms.  This study found that NACC had a 66.8% rate in the retention of First-Time Degree Seeking Freshmen (full and part time) from the 2018 Fall Semester to the 2019 Fall Semester (the last available timeframe for the study). 

“We are very proud of this,” stated NACC President Dr. David Campbell.  “We want to see our students succeed and keeping them in school that first year is a very big part of this process.  For a number of years NACC has sought ways to help our students,” Dr. Campbell added.

 NACC has implemented several ways to try and retain students, including opening a Student Success Center, starting an early alert system when students are displaying academic problems, paying for peer and professional tutors in most all fields, revamping the advising process to give students personal attention, expanding and adding personnel to the developmental studies program, opening a technology learning center to provide students with help with technology and computers, and providing workshops and sessions on how to get the most from their studies.  Providing events and activities and having an attractive campus for students have been points of emphasis also. 

“Much of what we do is based on attitude as well,” Campbell stated.  “We have people at Northeast who care about their students and want them to be successful.  Everyone on our staff can do something to make students feel encouraged, comfortable, and accepted at the college, whether it’s an administrator, faculty, staff member, police officer, or member of our grounds and maintenance crew.”

Northeast is one of twenty-four community colleges in the Alabama Community College System (ACCS).  This System aspires to see students succeed as well, and one of the many assessment measures of colleges used by the ACCS is: “How well does the college retain students?” 

Data compiled by the System itself places NACC at the top in first-year retention among the System’s open-admission community colleges in the state.

“Being successful at first-year retention is a great thing,” stated Dean of Students Sherie Grace.  “But we also want to make certain students complete their programs of study. This and students getting jobs from their degrees are the ultimate goals,” added Dean Grace.

The ACCS also measures their colleges on the standards of program completion and job placement. NACC brings the same attitude to completion as it does to retention.  In fact, the college has begun a very successful reverse transfer program where former students can transfer courses back to Northeast and if these courses meet the right fields and subjects, the student may obtain a degree from Northeast. 

College officials note that in the economic world caused by the coronavirus pandemic, obtaining a certified specialty certificate, an associate, baccalaureate, or master’s degree is more important now than ever before in getting a well-paying job or career.  The road to that achievement can start for anyone at Northeast Alabama Community College. 

If you are interested in more information about NACC, go to or visit us on our social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Call us at 256-638-4418 or 256-228-6001.