VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - New data shows Valdosta State University (VSU) had the highest increase in enrollment between fall 2019 and fall 2020.
That’s compared to the entire University System of Georgia, which is 26 colleges and universities in the Peach State.
“This is a big moment for the entire university. I think this is a combination of efforts campus-wide,” said Ryan Hogan, director of admissions.
Valdosta State University had a 9.2 percent increase in enrollment between fall 2019 and fall 2020
The University System of Georgia report shows VSU had more than 11,000 students enrolled fall 2019.
This Fall, they have more than 12,000, with the highest enrollment coming from the freshman class.
Hogan said the university’s enrollment boost was because of their communication efforts.
“I think one of the things we focused on so much at the beginning of this pandemic was communication. Things were changing, sometimes one day to the next with how things were going to be happening. We focused on communicating exclusively with the students and trying to talk to them as individuals,” said Hogan.
Dr. Becky Da Cruz is the associate provost for graduate studies and research.
She said the relaxed rules and no exams needed for undergrad and grad students may have also made it easier for people to consider going to school.
“Granted, with all the craziness going on with the pandemic, I think folks realized there was the opportunity to still (improve) themselves for their careers, their profession and that was communicated out very well,” said Da Cruz.
Eric Mortimer is a student at VSU.
He says the fact that VSU tries to make the college student experience as normal as possible during these times has also helped.
“A lot of students may have thought, going to college but what’s there going to be for me other than the classes and I think the university did a really good job this semester giving our students something to do throughout their time here and throughout the days while staying safe and I think that’s what a lot of students looking for a university," said Mortimer.
The university expects a rise in enrollment for the spring 2021 semester as well.
Hogan said so far, they are seeing an uptick. Many are the students that were accepted in the fall but decided to defer to spring for fear of the virus.
And for fall 2021, university leaders said they are expecting even more students and they are prepared.