Georgia Southern University’s enrollment has reached a historic high, with 20,674 full-time students for fall semester 2016, the university recently announced.
The increase of 215 students, including 136 additional new freshmen, amounts to 1 percent rise over last year’s enrollment of 20,459. But the university’s press release suggested that the 20,674 figure represents a step above the levels of approximately 20,500 students consistently experienced over the last five years.
“We are proud of the hard work of our admissions team and the entire campus community in the recruitment and retention of the best and brightest students from across Georgia and the country,” said Teresa Thompson, Ph.D., Georgia Southern’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “We have wonderful faculty and advisors who work with students on an individual level to ensure they are prepared for college coursework and are successful while they are at Georgia Southern.”
Georgia Southern boasts a 22-to-1 student-faculty ratio, which helps the university maintain its unique “small feel” for a higher education institution of its size, said the announcement from the university’s Office of Marketing and Communications.
This semester’s record enrollment also includes an increase in the number of graduate students enrolled in the University's Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies.
“We are delighted that graduate student enrollment has experienced an upturn this fall,” said Associate Provost Diana Cone, Ph.D. “We have gained more new and returning graduate students due to the hard work of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies staff and collaboration with the program directors in each of the university’s colleges.”
Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral Research University, offers more than 125 degree programs through its eight colleges.
The university released its enrollment statement Oct. 26.
Wednesday, the University System of Georgia announced that enrollment has increased by 1.1 percent, or 3,531 students, in the system as a whole. The 29 colleges and universities now enroll 321,551 students.
This fall’s enrollment continues a trend of modest increases for a third year. This semester’s numbers also mark the first time that both the actual count of individual students and full-time equivalent, or FTE, enrollment have surpassed the University System’s former enrollment peak in fall 2011.
“This is the third consecutive year we’ve seen our fall enrollment grow,” said University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “As we expand access to public higher education, we are seeing an increase in high school students getting an early start, as well as a larger number of students pursuing graduate degrees.”
Dual enrollment, which allows students to earn college credit while in high school, increased from 7,916 students in fall 2015 to 10,352 students in fall 2016, a more than 30 percent increase. The increase can be attributed to the Move on When Ready program, which streamlined dual enrollment programs and increased the state funding of tuition for these students.
Graduate programs also contributed to the fall 2016 enrollment increase. The total of 46,383 grad students is a 5 percent increase over fall 2015.
Meanwhile, enrollment patterns varied among the institutions of the University System of Georgia. Enrollment increased at 20 institutions and decreased at nine.