Enrollment at some colleges drops, others slightly increase

jmink@macon.comNovember 13, 2013 

Enrollment at some local colleges and universities has slightly increased, while the numbers at others have significantly dropped, according to data released Wednesday by the University System of Georgia.

The numbers mirror preliminary figures the colleges released to The Telegraph in September.

At Georgia College & State University, enrollment is up 1.7 percent from 6,444 in fall 2012 to 6,551 in fall 2013. At Gordon State College, enrollment barely increased from 4,171 to 4,187, according to the data.

At Fort Valley State University, enrollment dropped nearly 11 percent from 3,568 students in fall 2012 to 3,180 students in fall 2013. While that number is still higher than a few years ago -- enrollment was nearly 2,200 in 2006 -- it has been declining over the past few years.

At Middle Georgia State College, the University System of Georgia reports a 10.1 percent decrease, though college officials say that rate is actually closer to 8 percent due to data errors.

Even though Middle Georgia State College was not yet operating in fall 2012, officials took enrollment totals from the former Macon State and Middle Georgia colleges to compare this year’s enrollment, said Sheri Rowland, vice president for enrollment management.

Macon State and Middle Georgia colleges merged in January 2013 to form Middle Georgia State College. The new college has about 8,100 students, Rowland said.

Some of the challenges that came with merging two colleges contributed to the enrollment drop, Rowland said. For example, there were some federal financial aid coding issues, which delayed processing time for some students’ financial aid and might have convinced some to go elsewhere this semester. Additionally, some students simply were not aware of Middle Georgia State and what it offers, she said. Officials are correcting those issues and working to boost enrollment, she said.

“Yes, according to those numbers, we’re down,” she said. “But this is our foundation year. We are starting out as a brand new institution with 8,100 students, which is a great foundation.”

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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