Enrollment at the 26 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia has grown at a record pace during the past few years. Offering programs needed by businesses and individuals, the system has thrived with the addition of tens of thousands of out-of-work and under-employed Georgians who are looking to learn new skills and retool for in-demand careers in today's highly competitive job market.
The surge in student enrollment has earned 15 Georgia technical colleges the distinction of being among the fastest-growing public two-year colleges in the nation. Community College Week Magazine, in its November issue, used U.S. Department of Education data to analyze enrollment increases between fall 2008 and fall 2009 at 1,058 public two-year colleges. The magazine then broke the rankings down into four categories based on institutional size.
Among colleges with enrollments of less than 2,500 students, Ogeechee Technical College was the 23rd fastest growing in the nation.
Ogeechee Tech president, Dr. Dawn Cartee, said that OTC has grown even more since the enrollment numbers were analyzed.
"We were under 2,500 students when we were designated the 23rd fastest growing college in the nation for our category, and now we are at about 3,000 students, so the trend has continued," she said.
"We knew we were growing by leaps and bounds, but we had no clue we were one of the fastest growing in the country until this report came out. We are excited to be in the company of many other great colleges who are also seeing unprecedented growth."
Five Georgia colleges were ranked on the list of the 50 fastest-growing two-year colleges with enrollments of between 5,000 and 9,999 students. Athens Technical College was number eight, followed by Central Georgia Technical College (9th), Griffin Technical College, which is now Southern Crescent Technical College (10th), Gwinnett Technical College (11th) and Savannah Technical College (22nd.
There were eight Georgia colleges ranked among the two-year colleges serving 2,500 to 4,999 students, and that was twice as many as the next state. Valdosta Technical College (which is now Wiregrass Georgia Technical College) earned the honor as being the fastest-growing college in the nation among colleges with enrollments of equal size. Atlanta Technical College was third on that list, followed by North Georgia Technical College (4th), Albany Technical College (8th), Lanier Technical College (15th), South Georgia Technical College (18th), Middle Georgia Technical College (23rd) and DeKalb Technical College (47th).
Among colleges with enrollments of less than 2,500 students, Sandersville Technical College was ranked as the 16th fastest-growing two-year college, and Ogeechee Technical College was 23rd.
"It's a strong statement that more than half of Georgia's technical colleges were ranked among the nation's fastest growing public two-year colleges," said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson. "It reflects the increasingly important role that the TCSG has in the futures of nearly 200,000 Georgians who will attend our colleges this year and the many more who will follow. Our TCSG colleges are devoted to ensuring that their graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge that will make them a vital part of our state's 21st Century workforce."
Jackson added that cost and quality are reasons why the demand for a TCSG education should remain strong.
"The TCSG colleges will continue to grow and serve record numbers of students of every age, all taking advantage of affordable TCSG tuition, easy access to our campuses and great instructors who open the doors to a vast array of programs and world-class training. It's college that works," he said.
To access the Community College Week Magazine rankings online, go to http://www.ccweek.com/news/articlefiles/2198-CCW112910-AllPages3.pdf