Economy affects college decisions -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Economy affects college decisions

Dr. Gary Bonvillian Dr. Gary Bonvillian
Jessica Cashwell Jessica Cashwell
Joyce Halstead Joyce Halstead
Janine Long Janine Long

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Budgetary issues are causing financial woes at colleges across the country, but a lack of students is not the problem.

More kids are attending college now, than at any point in history. "So far in the last 6 years it's fallen between 10 and 15 percent growth each year and we'd like it to continue for a few more years," said Thomas University President Dr. Gary Bonvillian.

Bonvillian says they've had to work for their successful enrollment. "Unlike community colleges in the public sector we don't typically grow because we have a bad economy. We grow because we are reaching out in the market more ambitiously than we ever have before."

But the poor economy has affected many students, causing them to stay close to home. Jessica Cashwell is a second year nursing student at Southwest Georgia Tech. "It's convenient. I have a family here in town so it keeps me at home and I'm able to go home in the afternoons and spend time with my family and it's cheaper."

Southwest Georgia Tech had an 8 percent enrollment jump from last year. "Even though our enrollment is growing we have small classrooms and we can give that individualized attention," said Vice President of Student Affairs Joyce Halstead.

These days, it can be hard to find a job even if you have a degree, but Southwest has a job placement rate of 99 percent. "Well if I was a student, to know that the school has such a successful placement rate number one would attract me to that school. Today it's very difficult to find a job. You can be well skilled and still not find a place in the workplace," said Placement Director Janine Long.

Cashwell says although it did make financial sense to stay close to home, it was also the best thing for her education. "The technology here is great. The virtual hospital, I couldn't imagine any better."

Cashwell says her biggest reason for choosing Southwest Georgia Tech was the promise of having a job when she graduates.

Cashwell says she was able to get financial help to pay for college and she encourages other students to check out the many scholarship and financial aid programs.

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