Located in Gadsden, Alabama, Gadsden State Community College (GSCC) has four campuses and two instruction centers that enroll close to 8,000 students.
The school dates back to 1925 and the establishment of the Alabama School of Trades (later renamed the Alabama Technical College) which was founded to offer training in masonry, printing, and carpentry. Creation of the present-day community college took place in 1985, when the Alabama Board of Education merged Gadsden State Technical Institute, Alabama Technical College, and Gadsden State Junior College to create GSCC.
Students can pursue two-year degrees and technical / certificate programs as well as several non-credit programs, which include skills training and adult and continuing education.
The college is comprised of more than one dozen different divisions. These include the business division, information technology division, health sciences division, language and fine arts division, math and engineering and social sciences among others.
The business division has degree programs covering business and administration, accounting, finance, economics, business statistics and financial planning. Under this division, several certificate and diploma programs are also offered including office administration, word processing, and medical transcription.
The college’s social sciences division has eight associate degree programs covering areas such as child development, elementary education, history, human services, pre-law, psychology, sociology and religion. Through the math and engineering division, the college offers associate degrees in mathematics and pre-engineering.
The information and technology division offers associate degrees in computer science technology and several certificate programs covering areas such as computing technology, web development, and microcomputer repair.
Through the continuing education division, the school attempts to offer the kind of education that would appeal to people of all ages and educational backgrounds. This division is divided into two – professional development and community education.
Aimed at professionals who need to sharpen their skills, the professional sub-division offers seminars and workshops in areas such as nursing, air-conditioning, Spanish and computer science. Community education focuses on the needs of the seniors, youth and adults of the local community and is delivered via workshops, short courses, satellite conferences and seminars.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The college operates an open-door admissions policy enabling transfer students, GED recipients and holders of high school diplomas to join the college with ease. Most students attending the college commence their studies in the fall semester but admissions go on throughout the year and a new student can join at any time.
To obtain admission, a first-time applicant must submit a high school transcript (showing date of graduation) to the Admissions Office. In the absence of high school transcripts, the college accepts satisfactory GED transcripts.
Students still in high school are able to take courses through the Accelerated Program (available for students who have completed their tenth grade) but they must obtain the approval of their high school principals and the local superintendent of education. A similar program, the Dual Enrollment Program, is available for students who have completed their ninth grade.
Transfer students are admitted who submit transcripts from accredited institutions previously attended. When the transfer student is coming from an institution that is not accredited, the college requires that high school or GED transcripts accompany the transcripts from the post-secondary institution. All applicants are also required to complete a residency form.
Former students wishing to return are required to re-apply for admission if they have been away for more than a year. They are also required to present transcripts issued by institutions subsequently attended, a residency form and official documentation of compliance with the Selective Service Act (the Act requires that all male students between ages 18 and 26 present proof of registration with the U.S. Selective Service System).
Non-native speakers of English seeking admission are required to show their proficiency in the language by a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 500 (paper-based version) or 61 (internet-based version). The college also accepts an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 5.5 as adequate proof of proficiency.
International applicants are required to satisfy above proficiency conditions in addition to submitting a Medical Record Form confirming that the student is in good health and does not have active TB. Such applicants are also required to submit an Affidavit of Support from the person responsible for the student’s finances.
There are many sources of financial aid as the school has a very long list of scholarships. In addition, there are many State and Federal grant and loan programs which provide the cushion necessary for bright but needy students.
A student could apply for the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Scholarships which are provided for students seeking careers in the automotive industry. The association selects the winners and it awards up to 50 scholarships valued at $1,500 each to students around the state.
The Ambassador Scholarships are issued to students who wish to work as representatives of the college. Applicants for these scholarships must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 and be actively involved in a club or other extra-curricular activities. Applicants must write a 500-word essay showing the experiences they have acquired to prepare them for the ambassadorial role. Amounts awarded vary.
The college offers Athletic Scholarships to students who excel in various sports. Students of nursing could also apply for the Amy Floyd Honorary Scholarship which is awarded to a second-year RN student selected by the Nursing Department. Brazilian students attending the college could also apply for the Brazilian Grant which the grant director awards to students from that country.
Other scholarships available for students include the Bush Memorial Endowment Scholarship, the Buffalo Rock Endowment Scholarship, the Calhoun County Scholarships and the Culp Industries Endowment Scholarship.
The State of Alabama also runs the Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP) which awards grants of varying amounts to qualifying students who are residents of the state. To qualify for ASAP grants, an applicant must be eligible for the federal Pell Grant and, since funds are usually in short supply, the state awards those with the highest need as determined by FAFSA.
In addition to the Pell grant, needy students can also apply for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) or for part-time employment under the Federal Work-Study Program.
Additional sources of financial aid for students include federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans as well as loans from various private lenders.
Student Financial Aid Details
Students are encouraged to participate in the many extra-curricular activities available at the college’s campuses. Student activities are coordinated by the Coordinator of Student Activities and any student wishing to form a new club or organization must obtain the approval of this office.
GSCC is home to many clubs and organizations catering to the social, intellectual, and special interest needs of the students. Students pursuing IT courses congregate in the Information Technology Club. Clubs and organizations built on similar themes include the Ecology Matters Club, the Medical Lab Technology Club, the Student Nurses Association and the Science, Math, and Engineering Club.
There are also entertainment clubs and organizations such as the Southern Belles Dance Team, the Gadsden State Singers and the Show Band.
For spiritual matters, the Baptist Campus Ministries and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are also represented at the college. The International Student Club brings the international student community closer and allows students to learn about different cultures.
Student Enrollment Demographics
There is a very active alumni association with members drawn from graduates of the college as well as those from the institutions it merged with. The alumni association serves the twin purpose of providing a networking platform for the professional benefit of former students as well as a fundraising platform for the college’s projects.
To encourage graduating students to become members, the college gives each graduating student a one-year complimentary membership after which the newly-accepted member is required to contribute $20 per year in membership fees. A lifetime membership costs $300.
Most of the money raised is used to fund the college’s elaborate scholarship program.
Accreditation is provided by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Moreover, many of the college’s programs have obtained accreditation from professional accrediting bodies. Examples include the business division (accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs), the cosmetology technology division (accredited by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology) and the information technology division (accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs).
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.