It is one thing to be recognized for excellence in education. It’s another thing to be recognized as one of the best in the nation. And that was the case when the Georgia Military College (GMC) was recently ranked number 12 in the nation among community colleges by Washington Monthly magazine.
“Employees and students are thrilled, delighted, and certainly have a sense of pride to be at GMC. It is always nice to be nationally recognized for excellence. Those of us who work for GMC and the students who attend here know that this institution has high standards and we are proud that it has been noticed,” said GMC’s Fairburn campus Director Deborah Condon.
Condon is a former member of the Fayette County Board of Education.
GMC serves more than 5,000 students in eight locations across Georgia, including the Fairburn campus. From the time the local campus opened less than two years ago students from Fayette and Coweta counties have made up more than one-third of the school’s enrollment. Approximately 25 percent of students at the Fairburn campus reside in Fayette County, while another 10 percent live in Coweta County.
Referring to the rankings, Washington Monthly editors said that more than 60 percent of all community colleges, roughly 650 institutions, were included in the rankings from which the top 50 was published.
Component areas reviewed by the magazine to determine the rankings included active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, support for learning and the four-year graduation rate.
The magazine’s ranking of America’s best community colleges began in 2007 and is based on the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and graduation rates published by the U.S. Department of Education.
“Nearly half of all American students begin their college careers at two-year institutions. But unlike the four-year sector, students don’t compete to get into community colleges, and community colleges don’t compete in a national market for students. So there is little demand for national rankings of the kind published annually by U.S. News & World Report,” the magazine’s Education Sector Policy Director Kevin Carey said in the 2010 College Ranking article.
“Community colleges have the toughest job in higher education, teaching academically and financially challenged students with a fraction of the resources given to four-year institutions. That makes it essential to spotlight the schools that have surmounted these challenges and served their students well.”
Back in Fairburn, Condon said GMC’s high national ranking among community colleges is complimented by a number of factors that provide an advantage for students and their families, both in the education experience and in the cost of that education.
“Our students recognize the value in attending a community college where they have interaction with their instructors, student centered instruction, and support services, at an affordable price,” Condon said. “The community college is the wave of the future as students and parents look at cost cutting measures for attaining higher education.”
The only other community college in Georgia to be ranked in the top 50 was Atlanta Technical College at number 48.