Applications to Augusta State University for the fall semester are up 15 percent from this time last year, which some are attributing to excitement about the upcoming merger with Georgia Health Sciences University.
About 3,670 people have applied for undergraduate and graduate programs for fall 2012, compared with 3,204 by mid-June 2011, according to registrar and director of admissions Katherine Sweeney.
The rate of acceptance is up 28 percent from this point last year, and Sweeney said more will be considered as paperwork and applications are completed.
Sweeney said officials will not know the cause of the increase until the fall when the school conducts a survey of students.
“The jury is still out on why that is, and we’ll poll students asking why next semester,” Sweeney said. “But it might well have something to do with the excitement about consolidation.”
Sweeney said the school will expand recruitment efforts this year to attract even more prospective students. The university is placing a permanent recruiter in Atlanta next semester, among other expansions.
One obstacle for recruiting is convincing students to commit to a university where there are several unknowns – including what the school is called.
The Consolidation Working Group is still mulling various names for the new university and is expected to submit its recommendation to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in August.
Recruiters also cannot yet tell prospective students how tuition will change during their time at the university. Tuition will remain unchanged until fall 2013, but students could see increases after that, said Therese Rosier, ASU’s vice president for business operations.
Tuition, fees and parking costs could change when Augusta’s two public universities merge.
Despite the potential changes, it appears the eagerness to be a part of a new university outweighs any fears, Rosier said.
“By the numbers, it certainly is not having a bad effect,” she said.