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Most area CC students attend COA

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Robert Wynegar

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Monday, December 25, 2017

A recent review of statistics on where Albemarle area students attend community college found that College of The Albemarle generally does a good job of reaching local students. Even so, COA officials are looking for ways to keep even more students at home.

COA President Robert Wynegar said in a report to the COA Board of Trustees earlier this month that in most of the counties in the college’s seven-county service area, 85-90 percent of students who attend a community college attend COA.

A notable exception is Gates County, where a significant portion of community college students attend Roanoke-Chowan Community College in Ahoskie, he said.

In the most recent semester, 137 students from Gates County attended COA. However, 71 students from COA’s service area attended Roanoke-Chowan. Wynegar said most are students from the western part of Gates County who are more likely to attend Roanoke-Chowan because of its proximity and accessibility.

Wynegar said the analysis showed that overall, 500 students from the seven counties in COA’s service area are attending other community colleges in the state.

In addition to those attending Roanoke-Chowan, 141 are attending Pitt Community College, 72 are attending Wake Technical Community College and 66 attend Cape Fear Community College.

Although Wynegar initially thought students might be leaving the area because of curriculum programs that weren’t offered at COA, his review of the data showed that students are going to the other schools for programs that are available here. He said that led him to conclude that the students are drawn to the other three community colleges because of the nearby social scene in Greenville, Raleigh and Wilmington, respectively.

Dare County officials are hoping to do something similar with their plan to make the Roanoke Island Campus in Manteo a destination for community college students who live elsewhere in the state.

COA also may be competing for area students with a community college above the state line.  

COA Trustee Mike Hall, who is a county commissioner in Currituck, said he also knows of students in the Moyock area who attend Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake. Hall said he’s been advised that the state of Virginia offers in-state tuition at Tidewater for students who live in North Carolina but work in Virginia.

“I can’t compete with that, then,” Wynegar said.

The other six counties in COA’s designated service area are Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan, Camden, Currituck and Dare.

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