The Great Basin College Winnemucca campus (pictured) continues to grow, with its newest building completed and set to be open in the fall semester of 2022.
The Great Basin College Winnemucca campus (pictured) continues to grow, with its newest building completed and set to be open in the fall semester of 2022.
While other higher education institutions have seen a dramatic dip in enrollment rates since the onset of the pandemic and amongst rising inflation, Great Basin College (GBC) has maintained steady numbers in student enrollment and continues their efforts to grow opportunities for students. 

Jake Rivera, GBC Vice President for Student and Academic Affairs, reported that the number of students enrolled full-time— taking four classes/12 credits per semester— has declined by 6.9% in the 2022 spring term in comparison to last year’s spring term. 

Despite the drop in overall full-time student enrollment, GBC has seen a 5.5% increase in its LatinX student population and a 17% increase in enrollment for summer courses, which is telling of the increases that GBC may see of students that had stopped taking courses during the pandemic, but may return for the fall semester, according to Rivera. 

“Despite the changing enrollment patterns during the pandemic, we are very optimistic there is still time for the upcoming fall 2022 term to engage current and new students,” Rivera said.  “Our enrollment strategies have to be flexible, proactive to changing dynamics, contain data-informed decision making, and promoting GBC effectively will be key.” 

Other colleges in Nevada, like the College of Southern Nevada, have experienced a significant decrease in student enrollment—nearly 25% — since the fall of 2019. 

“Colleges across the state will have to prepare for some real challenges that are on the horizon, specifically declining high school graduation rates significantly impacted by the pandemic will have a domino effect on recruiting new college students,” said Rivera.

According to the Annual Student Enrollment Trends for GBC, the headcount for enrollment in 2019 was 3,852 students, 3,772 students for 2020, and 3,414 students for 2021. The current headcount for students enrolled in 2022 is 3,836. The numbers have remained steady in comparison with other colleges and have even climbed since the pandemic. 

The addition of a 13,000 square foot building at the Winnemucca campus, which oversees Pershing, Lander and Humboldt counties, could have something to do with the rising numbers in student enrollment, according to Director of the Winnemucca Center, Becky Coleman. The building will house the nursing and electrical programs fall semester, with the courses remaining extremely popular for students in all counties and consistently maintaining a full status. 

There are even some students on a waiting list for the courses, according to Coleman. The nursing program at GBC has produced a 100%  pass rate for the students who took the National Council Licensure Examination, which certifies a nurse to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse, compared to the national pass rate, which is about 88%, Coleman exclaimed. 

It was reported that GBC has also made it a goal to provide more in-person and live activities for students, and that has had an effect on enrollment rates as well. 

“People are hungry for connection and opportunities,” explained Coleman.

“Students are weighing their options and looking at other alternatives. At GBC, prospective students are inquiring about shorter programs that lead to employment and we see more inquiries on noncredit microcredentials, which are short, focused credentials designed to provide workforce in-demand skills and experience,” said Rivera.