While most universities see enrollment increases, GSW down - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

While most universities see enrollment increases, GSW down

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November 21, 2004

AMERICUS - Georgia Southwestern has more freshman enrolled this fall than in years past--so why are enrollment numbers in the red?

 "It's an interesting dilema, because we actually have one of the largest classes of first year students that we've had in the last five years," GSW President Michel Hanes said. 

An interesting dilema, indeed.  Not only are there more freshman, there are more transfer students as well. Yet, enrollment at GSW is down nearly four percent from the year before.

Albany State and Valdosta State Universities, Darton College and ABAC all saw increases in enrollment compared to last year.  Statewide, Georgia's public colleges and universities is up 20 percent in three years.

President Hanes said, "We have a number of upperclass students who did not register for the fall semester that we expected to be here." 

The enrollment numbers include both undergraduate and graduate students--many of whom are part-time.

"Amoung our enrollment we have a lot of part time students who drop out, they don't drop out they stop out, go for two or three semesters, work for two or three semesters, come back for two or three semesters," Hanes said. 

GSW's President Michael Hanes says that fluctuation accounts for much of the decline. But, there's another reason too--the number of high school graduates in Southwest Georgia has dropped.

"There's a smaller pool of well qualified students and its just going to be increasingly challenging for us that is one reason why we are recruiting students from not just Southwest Georgia but from all over the state now," Hanes said. 

Redoubling their efforts to recruit students not only from Southwest Georgia but from across the state is what GSW  believe's will be the answer to boosting their enrollment.

Dr. Hanes calculated the undergraduate enrollment last fall compared to this fall--the difference was less than one half of one percent.  Much of the decline was do to part-time graduate students going back to work.

posted at 5:12 by mathew.palmer@walb.com