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University System Reports Fall 1998 Enrollment Numbers

Atlanta — December 3, 1998

The University System of Georgia enrolled 200,102 students in Fall 1998, a decline of 2.6 percent. The decline had been predicted because of the conversion to the semester calendar, according to University System Chancellor Stephen R. Portch.

The total credit-hours taken by students declined by 11.6 percent. Credit-hour declines resulted from existing students already enrolled in the University System choosing to take four courses under the semester system instead of the traditional three courses under the quarter system; however, five courses is a full semester load. Freshmen who have never experienced another system tend to take the full five-course load.

Studies of the first year of academic calendar year conversions at other institutions throughout the country reflect that traditionally both head count and credit hour enrollments decline.

The University System of Utah also converted from the quarter to the semester system this fall; its head count declined 6 percent and its credit hours were down 8 percent. The only institution not to have a decline in that system was Utah Valley State College, which converted to semesters in the fall of 1990.

Interestingly, the only University System institution not to decline in either head count or credit hours was Georgia Tech (up 7.6 percent percent and 8.1 percent, respectively). Tech will not convert to the semester system until next year, because of the full year it dedicated to hosting the 1996 Olympics.

Besides Georgia Tech, eight other University System institutions saw increases in head count students: the Medical College of Georgia (2.0 percent), the University of Georgia (1.1), Georgia Southwestern State University (6.9), State University of West Georgia (2.8), Coastal Georgia Community College (1.1), Darton College (2.9), East Georgia (2.4), and Gordon College (5.5).

“This is a temporary and predicted decline in our enrollment due to semester conversion and a robust economy enticing many of our students to work more hours,” said Chancellor Portch. “We will recover this enrollment quickly and expect to grow to 232,000 students by the year 2002.”

In addition to a temporary decline because of semester conversion, there was also a 5 percent reduction in out-of-state students. System officials also were pleased to learn that due to increases in academic admissions requirements, there was a 11.2 percent decline in the number of students enrolled in learning support courses.

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