Panola driving growth at Northwest CC

Published 4:59 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Northwest Community College President Dr. Michael Heindl updated the Board of Supervisors with an annual report showing the college’s growth and Panola County’s representation among the student body.

Particularly the enrollment is up, along with general student success in Panola.  “I’m not sure everybody knows the great work our supervisors in the county are doing on behalf of the college, and most importantly on behalf of the students,” said Heindl.

Northwest has the greatest headcount enrollment among all of the state’s community colleges with an increase of 6.2 percent in 2023 this year.

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  “That’s directly attributable to what’s happening in Panola county,” said Heindl, “With our career technical enrollment growth, our Health Science growth, and honestly for the first time ever, some academic enrollment growth.” 

The top academic pathways for the 9,196 enrolled students (including in-person and online) are General College, Pre Health Sciences, and Business Administration.  

The top career technical programs are Network Support, Medical Office Technology, and HVAC – and top health sciences; Nursing, Practical Nursing (LPN), and LPN to RN transition.


Panola County student successes include an average ACT of 19.4135; a total of 124 degrees awarded; a total of 66 transfers to 4-year; 19 adult education high school equivalency completers; and an adult education county enrollment of 51. 


The president credited the new concourse for many of the advances and enrollment increases, and the programs that were added this fall, including electrical vehicle manufacturing and commercial truck driving.  Also, a pilot training program that is currently in the works.


Heindl also acknowledged achievements in intercollegiate athletics, which consists of baseball, basketball, football, rodeo, soccer and tennis for men, and the same for women with the addition of volleyball.


The university also just hired a golf coach, which brings that program back for both men and women after nearly a seven year hiatus.  Northwest will have the first ever women’s golf program in the state, which has led to the prospect of ones in Jones and Pearl River counties. 


Heindl addressed that with all of the progress and increase in enrollment has come a growing need for more on campus student housing, which is currently at 100 percent occupancy.  


There are currently 1,237 beds, among the 10 residence halls – including Calhoun Hall, which opened in August 2021 – and roughly 600 men and women were on the waiting list this fall.  


“So, as you can imagine, we need one or two more residence halls,” Heindl said.  “But we’re really proud of the nice residence halls and dorms that we have on campus.”


A new men’s residence hall is opening in fall 2024, which will bring the campus resident population to 1,300.