GSW sees increase in summer, fall enrollment

This year they are seeing a record 10.8% increase for the fall semester compared to 2022.
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 6:48 PM EDT
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) has seen an increase in student enrollment for both summer and fall semesters.

With students back on campus that means more foot traffic for local businesses. Whether that’s grabbing a coffee, attending a First Friday event or shopping downtown.

“We’re following up with the momentum that started in the summer where we were up 7.3 percent. We are just seeing an increase across the board in traditional students, online students, graduate students out housing is up 14 percent. So, all good news for Georgia Southwestern and the Americus community,” Assistant VP Enrollment Management Gaye Hayes said.

GSW’s goal is to first recruit, then retain. This year they are seeing a record of a 10.8 percent increase for the fall semester compared to last year.

“Americus and Sumter County and Southwest Georgia really feels the swell when our students come back to campus. It adds to the economy, we also have community service in our downtown area, we have students who their families come to visit, and they stay in our local hotels,” Hayes said.

Local businesses said that they are ready for the students to start coming back as it takes everyone to support a small community.

Hayes shares how she wants all the students to feel at home when they arrive on campus.

“We work very hard to make sure that every student gets a personalized approach here at Southwestern. They are assigned an academic advisor, they are assigned a transitional person in the first-year experience office if they are a new student to campus,” Hayes said.

One thing staff wants students to know is that they will be fully supported throughout the year.

One aspect that has helped increase enrollment is getting students to be more engaged in student activity. One example is they have switched their homecoming to the fall semester.

“Fall semester is so fun here, so we start out with our freshman convocation our students are really welcomed to our campus by the upperclassmen. There is a lot of traditions that happen there and we really enjoy introducing those traditions to those students,” Hayes said.

The motto for GSW is always student success which remains a priority for them. Part of the transition from high school to college is being able to find a new home something Hayes hopes students feel.

“Home is where the heart is and so we want our students to really feel that this is a place that welcomes them, accepts them, embraces them, and supports them,” Hayes said.