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Columbia County Observer

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Florida Gateway College One-Stop Enrollment: A Good Idea for Students & Staff, College VP Withholds Stats

College professionals and a ham greet folks at the one stop event. At the table are Julie Cannon and Tracy Nabli.
Julie Cannon, Director of Dual Enrollment and Recruitment (left) and Tracy Nabli, Communications Specialist (right) greeted folks as they came in. So far, the ham is unidentified | Observer Photo

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Yesterday, between 8:30 am and 5 pm, Florida Gateway College (FGC) held its second One Stop Enrollment Day. Anyone who wanted to enroll or learn about courses or financial assistance was welcome. Current students could re-register.


In 1947, FGC began as a school of Forestry. It has grown into a comprehensive community college known for its nursing, welding, and hands-on technical training.

FGC primarily serves the North Central Florida rural counties of Baker, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, and Union.

In 2001, the Florida legislature designated these five counties and nine others in North Central Florida as Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC). They earned this designation because they were areas of persistent poverty; lowest educational achievement; low household income; depressed economic activity; high unemployment/underemployment; lack of business competitiveness; and difficulty finding new business and jobs.

In 2014, the state re-branded these hard-pressed communities from RACECs to RAOs or Rural Areas of Opportunity.

This naming deception did not change the fact that median household income was and remains well below the state and federal average. These areas continue with some of Florida's highest poverty levels and educational challenges.

Either in spite of or because of the hurdles faced by the college, it has grown into a college serving thousands. It has expanded its educational programs to include 4-year degrees and more certificate programs.

The college campus includes a state-of-the-art library and media center and has recently dedicated a new STEM building.

The college has plans to expand its on-campus nursing program, a program that is one of the strongest and most accomplished in the South East.

It is thought that about 90% of students entering FGC need some remediation.

Andrew Dawson fills out a survey for free swag as Teagan Rhoden, Kristin Thomas and dad Rob Dawson look on.
Andrew Dawson, who is interested in studying computer tech, fills out a survey for free swag as Teagan Rhoden (left) and Kristin Thomas (behind table) and dad Rob Dawson look on.

The One-Stop Enrollment Day

One-Stop took place in the library center. It allowed students to complete these enrollment steps:

• Apply for admission
• Apply for financial aid
• Complete placement testing
• Meet with FGC academic advisors
• Register for classes
• Pay tuition fees or sign up for payment plan
• Take a campus tour
• Obtain student ID
• Learn more about campus services like TRIO and tutoring

The One-Stop attendees and staff were all in good spirits at the event.

Long-time staff members and students were staffing the booths and greeting the attendees with smiles.

FGC VP Anthony Cardenas
FGC VP Anthony Cardenas made a brief pass through at the one stop event.

Anthony Cardenas, VP of enrollment, made a brief appearance while your reporter was there. It is not clear if he was called or was just passing through.

As your reporter left, he asked the college public information officer to have Mr. Cardenas call or text him with the day’s stats for the One-Stop.

Mr. Cardenas either didn't know or didn't want to publicize the day's statistics: the number of applications completed; the number of students requesting pre-admission advising; the number of students who took placement testing – if any; the number of students who registered for fall classes; the number who were helped with financial aid; and the simplest of all – how many students were issued student IDs.

VP Cardenas only provided, “We had 138 individuals come through for today’s Fall One Stop Enrollment Day.”

Photo of the FGC student ID table. Jesse Braden was in charge.
Jesse Braden, who is studying criminal justice and is thinking about becoming a sky marshall, mans the student ID table. He also works at the college.


A search on the college’s website for staff members resulted in the following response for Cardenas: “Vice President, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.”

There was no job description or photo of Mr. Cardenas or any member of Florida Gateway College's executive team members.

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