Pearl River celebrates historic spring enrollment and a decade of outpacing the state average in growth

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — New all-time highs for enrollment and credit hours have Pearl River Community College celebrating its continued progress toward making higher education affordable, accessible, and efficient. 

The 10th Day Enrollment Report published by the Mississippi Community College Board arrived with news of the record-setting enrollment of 5,061 students for the spring semester. This marks the first time in the institution’s history that spring enrollment topped 5,000 students. There has been a 17.75% growth in enrollment from 2018 to 2024 while the state average saw a drop of 12.3%. Pearl River is the only community college in the state to experience a headcount gain in that period.  

The River Continues to Rise

Credit hours are also up for the spring semester, with 67,073 credit hours registered. The new record for the school places it as the only Mississippi community college with a credit hour gain from 2018 to 2024 at a whopping 23.75% increase, while the state average saw a drop of 14.5%. 

These exciting enrollment developments follow news of the record-setting enrollment of 5,646 students for PRCC’s Fall 2023 semester.  

“We are humbled by the record number of students who have entrusted us with their higher education goals and aspirations,” said Dr. Adam Breerwood, President of Pearl River Community College. “We have embraced a proactive approach to recruitment and expansion of our programs and class offerings. Our job is to create clearly defined pathways for our students and assist them in alleviating any obstacles that would impede their success. Our focus has been on remaining affordable, accessible and efficient. Our unprecedented growth is a testament to the diligence and efforts of our entire faculty and staff.” 


Whether it is daytime, nighttime, or anytime online, PRCC is building out a robust schedule that allows students to obtain the courses and training they need. Courses are offered on the traditional 15-week semester schedule in fall and spring and in condensed formats for completion in 4 to 8 weeks with start dates throughout the year. 

Meeting students where they are through asynchronous courses delivered through eLearning options is a continued priority for PRCC. Online classes are popular with non-traditional students, including those who continue to work while furthering their education.     

Online enrollment has more than doubled since 2017. The number of students taking an online course saw a 93.21% increase while credit hours increased by 151.78%. Approximately 72.57% of students have at least one online class with 34.04% of students exclusively online. 

Students pursuing certificates or degrees in all Business Pathway Career Technical Programs (Accounting Technology, Business & Marketing Management Technology, Business Management Technology, and Medical Billing & Coding) can do so completely online. Several general education courses can be taken through eLearning as can many for the new Cybersecurity Technology program. 


For students attending The River, success can be measured by what comes after they complete a certificate or earn their associate degree.  

Allied Health, Career-Technical Education, and Workforce Development programs assist students to acquire the skills they need to secure positions that launch careers. Leadership in those areas works with local employers to create partnerships and unique opportunities for PRCC students. They also evaluate the needs of local communities to determine if new programs should be added.  

PRCC currently offers 46 different CTE pathways across its locations and continues to find new pathways and programs to offer that will work towards preparing students to enter the workforce well educated, well trained, and ready to provide top-notch services to our communities. The current list of options can be found at with links to each individual program’s information page.  

Pearl River is also proud to continuously support students when their path takes them on to university. Former PRCC students earning degrees from IHL institutions has increased by 14.5% since 2018, while the state average has increased less than 1% in that same timeframe.  

The academic outcome is also seen in improved grade point averages. In 2023, the average GPA of PRCC transfer students that graduated from one of Mississippi IHLs was 3.24, up from 3.03 in 2018.  


PRCC has listened to feedback from current and prospective students regarding hours for key operational offices. Plans are in motion to create opportunities to benefit our students during peak times of the semester. This allows students to take care of business during times that are convenient for them.  

“Across the college we listen to feedback from students on how we can be more accessible. Through the use of focus groups, our students have expressed a desire for flexible hours in various offices,” said Candace Harper, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Business Services. “Our Business Office, Financial Aid, and Admissions departments are working towards providing more flexible hours for our students during peak times. The Wildcat Den Bookstore has created extended hours on nights and weekends at our Poplarville location and extended the hours until 5:00 pm on our Forrest County Campus. We believe these small tokens create big opportunities.” 

PRCC Students Walking

An integral part of the student experience is learning in and out of the classroom. PRCC constantly aims to provide the best possible classroom experience for all students, led by hundreds of high-caliber instructors. PRCC’s faculty and staff often go above and beyond the daily requirements and expectations to ensure each student is cared for. 

Both students and alumni share how they found their path and people at The River. They become part of the Wildcat Family, with lifelong connections being made. 

“I love that I have been able to find my family here within the Wildcat Family,” said Sophomore student and the Office of Recruitment’s Lead River Navigator Karsen Vick. “By joining clubs, attending events and activities, and getting involved in campus life, I’ve made lifelong friends and created memories I know will last forever. I’m especially thankful for all of my instructors who have gone above and beyond to make my classes engaging and relevant to what I want to do in my future.” 


Pearl River has focused on customer service at the college, particularly on how students are helped throughout the process. 

Assistance begins during a student’s matriculation into the college with informative orientation sessions coordinated by First-Year Experience (FYE) in the Center for Academic Engagement. The orientation process includes access to online ROAR Resources, an advisement session to set their first schedule, and attendance at a Wildcat Welcome session for their chosen campus.  

“Enrolling in college can be overwhelming, especially for students who are the first in their families to attend college,” said Director of First Year Experience Dr. Lisa Wall. “The orientation process is designed to guide and support students through every step between completing the admissions application and starting the first day of class.    

“The First-Year Experience department strives to provide a variety of resources and opportunities for students to get their questions answered and get engaged with PRCC before Day 1. We’re genuinely Happy to Help!”  

Support for students continues beyond the first day of classes. First-Year Seminar is a credit-bearing Learning & Life Skills (LLS) course designed to support students throughout their first semester at PRCC and is a requirement for graduation. Additional LLS courses include College Life for academically at-risk students, College Study Skills, and Job Search Skills. FYE also hosts workshops for all students on topics such as time management and study skills. 

Paying for college is a topic many incoming students struggle to understand fully. PRCC launched a new initiative for financial aid counseling to empower incoming freshmen to navigate their financial aid options confidently. The Office of Financial Aid offers the appointments, ensuring students have a comprehensive understanding of the financial aid process and available payment options. 


The goal of the college is to prepare each student for the best possible life ahead, one where they are self-sufficient and upstanding members of their communities. PRCC is committed to providing the facilities and faculty for programs leading to career opportunities in the area.   

Pearl River is growing its footprint in Hancock County by opening the Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy Hangar with direct runway access at Stennis International Airport. The facility opened for Unmanned Systems Technology classes last fall and Aviation Maintenance Technology classes began in January. Construction is underway for the main Academy building, anticipated for completion by summer 2024. The current Hancock Campus in Waveland will relocate to the new 53,000-square-foot facility.    

In 2023, the Mississippi State Legislature recognized the College’s enrollment growth in Allied Health and Nursing students. As a result, funding was provided for the construction of a new Allied Health and Nursing building to accommodate the growth. The College has secured grant funds, from Accelerate MS, to renovate existing spaces in preparation of a new EMT/Paramedic program.    

“The Forrest County Campus is working diligently to provide programs that benefit our community,” said Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President for Forrest County Campus, Allied Health, and Nursing Programs. “Healthcare is a huge sector of employment in Hattiesburg and we are doing everything possible to expand our programs to meet those needs and offer our students great opportunities.    

 “As a result of this effort and partnerships with our local government, universities and healthcare providers, our enrollment continues to grow which in turn improves the skills of our local workforce and contributes to the great quality of life right here in the Pine Belt.” 

On the Poplarville Campus, a new long-term plan for expansion has been drafted. Ground has already broken for a new Utility Lineman program facility and the construction of new residence halls will begin later this fall.  

All these components work together to make Pearl River a place that welcomes all to start a new journey and gives them the necessary tools to be successful along the way. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG). 

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