Economy posing recruiting challenges for VSU - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Economy posing recruiting challenges for VSU

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Nearly 12,500 students attend school at Valdosta State University.  But over the last few years, it's gotten harder for VSU, and other colleges, to keep their numbers up.

"We attribute that a little bit to the economy, a lot of students are electing to go straight into the workforce," said VSU Associate Admissions Director Ryan Hogan.

Especially here in South Georgia.

"A lot of students who work with their families with farming might just go ahead and start working with their family farming," Hogan added.

Some of those students are beginning to reconsider the classroom though.

"We're seeing a little bit of a pick up," explained Hogan. "Students are now starting to come back after that."

Hogan says as the economy struggles to recover, more students want to stay close to home, making it hard to convince students from outside the immediate area to choose VSU.

But the university's location helps.

"That's a conversation that we have daily. I'll go ahead and tell you, 40 percent of our students come from the Atlanta area...We're two hours from the gulf, two hours from the Atlantic. Being 15 miles from the Florida line doesn't hurt anything," said Hogan.

Location was a deciding factor for VSU student Justin Woods.

"It was about a 50/50 chance between here and Georgia Southern. Visitation day solidified why I wanted to come here. The people I'm around, the location and the campus itself," admitted Woods.

Social media also help the university recruit students.

"After our visitation days," said Hogan, you'll see the buzz start pickin' up, the social media starts growin' a little bit, applications start coming in."

But the economy will still pose a challenge as recruiters try to convince potential students to choose VSU.

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