Georgia Southern University set a new record with its enrollment this semester: 20,574 students, a 1.8 percent increase from the 20,212 enrolled in fall 2011, the university announced in a news release.
That contrasts with that across University System of Georgia institutions, which in total saw their enrollment drop by 1.2 percent to 314,365 this semester, the system recently reported.
Looking only at students who are enrolled full-time, the results are similar. Georgia Southern’s full-time enrollment this semester is 18,706, a 1.5 percent increase from 18,429 in fall 2011. The University System’s full-time enrollment is 278,319, down 1.2 percent from last fall.
This is the sixth consecutive year that Georgia Southern’s enrollment has increased. By contrast, East Georgia State College, which has a campus in Statesboro and is based in Swainsboro, saw a sharp 14.3 percent drop from 3,435 students in fall 2011 to 2,944 this year. The drop followed a 12.1 percent increase from fall 2010.
Georgia Southern’s news release added that the student body now includes students from 49 states and 93 countries. In case you were wondering, that means every state except North Dakota is represented in the university’s student population.
“We are excited that an increasing number of outstanding students are choosing Georgia Southern University for their college education,” Georgia Southern President Brooks Keel said. “Whether they are traditional students pursuing their degree on campus or working professionals or members of the military pursuing a degree part-time or fully online, Georgia Southern is growing and expanding its reputation not only in Georgia, but throughout the United States and around the world.”
Not only is Georgia Southern’s freshman class the largest, it’s also the most academically qualified as measured by the SAT. This year, Georgia Southern freshmen had a record average SAT score of 1,115, which is up 3 points from the 2011 freshman class, the university announced. That average represents the SAT’s critical reading and math sections, which have a maximum composite score of 1,600 points.
Keel said a larger student population at Georgia Southern benefits more than just the university.
“Georgia Southern is an economic engine,” he said. “This past year the University’s estimated economic impact totaled a record $846 million. That’s good news for Statesboro, Savannah, our region and the state of Georgia as a whole.”
The university’s growth also should be a point of pride for GSU alumni, said Wendell Tompkins, the director of alumni relations and annual giving.
“Many in the state, including many of our own alumni, remember when Georgia Southern had 10,000 students -- that was in the late 1980s,” he said. “Today, Georgia Southern is one of Georgia's premier universities and a lot of alumni, not to mention parents of prospective students who never attended, are surprised to see the incredible growth when they visit campus. Georgia Southern is one of Georgia’s great success stories. It’s definitely something that our alumni can take pride in.”
The university’s record enrollment is just the latest achievement for the growing institution, the news release says. In the past year saw, the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology was created, Georgia Southern was named one of the most military friendly universities in the country, and its research efforts more than doubled Gov. Nathan Deal transferred management of Savannah’s Herty Advanced Materials Development Center to the university.