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Growth in University System Student Enrollment Accelerates

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Atlanta — November 13, 2007

The latest University System of Georgia (USG) fall enrollment report shows that current enrollment in Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities stands at an all-time high of 270,022 students for fall of 2007. This is a gain of 10,077 students from fall 2006 to fall 2007, reflecting a steady growth in demand for higher education.

The 3.9 percent increase over fall 2006 represents a more robust rise from more modest percentage increases in recent years of 2.5 percent from fall 2005 to fall 2006 and 1.5 percent from fall 2003 to fall 2004.

And, critical to state funding for the University System, the number of credit hours students are taking - known as full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment - has increased by 4.4 percent since Fall 2006. FTE enrollment is used to calculate the USG’s funding formula, so any increase in this measurement translates into new budget dollars that are requested to meet the instructional needs of additional students.

While the current growth reflects a larger percentage increase than in the previous two years, it continues a more stable pattern of growth from a series of explosive years of enrollment gains that began in 1998. Over the nine years since 1998, the System has added 69,920 students, or an overall increase of 34.9 percent.

“Our new Strategic Plan indicates we should expect an additional 100,000 students in the University System by 2020, ” said Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “This new report indicates that enrollment growth is continuing and strengthening.”

“More importantly, we are seeing some significant increases at our two-year access institutions and at some of our comprehensive universities,” Davis said. “And this is exactly where we need to direct enrollment growth in the future if we are going to meet enrollment demand in the System. We need more of our students selecting our access institutions and our comprehensive universities as a ‘first choice’ for college.”

The largest gains by type of institution were at the state colleges, where enrollment grew 8.7 percent. Middle Georgia College gained 12.9 percent and Gainesville State College gained 11.2 percent.

In addition, two-year colleges also grew faster than the System at a rate of 6.2 percent. Well above the enrollment increase for this group was South Georgia Colleges, which posted a 19.9 percent increase; East Georgia College which had a 15.6 percent increase; Atlanta Metropolitan College which grew at 11.8 percent and Georgia Highlands College which posted a 10.5 percent increase. The System’s 15 four-year universities posted overall gains of almost 3 percent and enrollment increased 2.3 percent at the four research universities. Most notably among the State Universities, Fort Valley State University increased enrollment by 17.7 percent. Among the research universities, the University of Georgia was the only institution to experience a decline in enrollment of -0.4 percent.

Eight USG institutions had a greater than a 10 percent increase. Of these institutions, Georgia Gwinnett College, the newest of the system, increased enrollment by 568 percent, enrolling 788 students after welcoming its first freshman class.

Other institutions posting growth on par with or above the System average were the Medical College of Georgia with a 6.2 percent increase to 2,862; North Georgia College & State University posting a 6.2 percent increase to 5,227; and Georgia Perimeter College with a 7.6 percent increase to 21,473 students. In terms of total enrollment, the University of Georgia continues to lead the System, with 33,831 students. The remaining of the top three institutions in enrollment each have more than 20,000 students: Georgia State University (27,134 students), Georgia Perimeter College (21,473 students), and Kennesaw State University (20,607 students.

The number of first-time freshmen students in the USG increased from 41,060 students in fall 2006 to 42,689 students in fall 2007. The percentage increase in first-time freshmen enrollment from fall 2006 to fall 2007 of 4 percent was larger than the 2.8 percent jump from fall 2005 to fall 2006. African-American enrollment increased by 5.4 percent, or 3,353 students, from 61,540 students in fall 2006 to 64,893 students in fall 2007 - representing 24 percent of total University System enrollment. Both the percentage and number increase in African-American enrollment from fall 2006 to fall 2007 are a gain over fall 2005 to fall 2006, which saw a 2.8 percent (or 1,650 student) increase.

Hispanic enrollment in the USG continues to increase at double-digit rates, with a 12.6 percent jump, or 988 students, up from 7,827 students in fall 2006 to 8,815 students in fall 2007.

The number of students enrolled full-time in the University System increased by 5.23 percent from fall 2006 to fall 2007 to a System percentage of 70.2. Full-time enrollment ranged from a high of 91.1 percent at the Medical College of Georgia, to a low of 36.8 percent at Coastal Georgia Community College. These wide differences reflect the unique missions of USG institutions, where two-year and state colleges serve a significant number of students with work and family responsibilities in addition to college study, as opposed to four-year colleges and universities that enroll a higher percentage of full-time students. While USG overall female enrollment continues to be significantly higher than male enrollment (156,387 females in fall 2007, or 57.9 percent of total enrollment compared to 113,629 males), the percentage increase in male enrollment in the System continues to outpace the percentage increase in female enrollment. Male student enrollment increased from fall 2006 to fall 2007 by 4.5 percent, or 4,874 students. Female enrollment for the same period increased by 3.4 percent, or 5,197 students.

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