Darton and ASU both saw the two biggest drops in enrollment numbers in the USG this fall. (Source: WALB)
ASU saw a decline of about 13 percent and the loss at Darton was closer to 25 percent. (Source: WALB)
Enrollment at GSW jumped 7.2 percent over last fall. (Source: WALB)
Academic Affairs Provost Tau Kadhi (Source: WALB)
GSW Enrollment Management VP Gaye Hayes (Source: WALB)
As the merger between Albany State University and Darton State College moves forward, both institutions are losing students in droves.
New numbers show their enrollment declined more than any other school in the University System of Georgia this fall.
ASU saw a decline of about 13 percent and the loss at Darton was closer to 25 percent.
Those are the two largest drops in the state.
Administrators said that the decrease is coming from both a recruiting and retention standpoint.
They plan to identify which types of students are leaving, and admit that until the consolidation is finalized, it's hard for the school to put out a uniform marketing message.
Officials said program cuts, at the university are already happening due to the consolidation, but they will continue to evaluate their offerings.
"You know, what are we doing to meet the needs of the modern student? Is some of this about, maybe, we're not doing that as well as we may have thought we have been doing. So, we have to think in terms of maybe there are programs that need to be modified," said Academic Affairs Provost Tau Kadhi.
Kadhi said that other consolidating schools have seen drops that eventually came back up.
The combined enrollment of ASU and Darton is now 7,161.
But it's a different story at Georgia Southwestern State University.
Enrollment there jumped 7.2 percent over last fall.
Officials said the school has nearly doubled the number of students coming from Florida, South Carolina and Alabama thanks to an out-of-state tuition waiver program.
"Students are telling us when they visited our campus, they were very surprised that it was a very traditional campus, very beautiful campus. Parents really like that it's safe and that it's a contained campus, so we tend to know each other here," said GSW Enrollment Management VP Gaye Hayes.
Officials said free tutoring for core classes and small class sizes are two other perks that attract students.
Enrollment in the entire USG is up just over 1 percent this fall.