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Augusta State has fewer students for third year in row

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Augusta State University’s student body shrank for the third year in a row as the fall 2012 semester started with 242 fewer students than last year.

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Students walk on campus at Augusta State University. The university's student body shrank for the third year in a row as the fall 2012 semester started with 242 fewer students than last year.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Students walk on campus at Augusta State University. The university's student body shrank for the third year in a row as the fall 2012 semester started with 242 fewer students than last year.

As the second week of the semester comes to a close, enrollment fell to 6,498 students, compared to 6,740 this time last year and 6,919 in fall 2010. Spokeswoman Danielle Harris said the 2012 enrollment is not yet official.

Last year’s dip was blamed mostly on cuts to Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship program, which reduced the amount of financial aid students received for tuition, fees and books. State officials predict that other Georgia schools also will see a slight decrease in enrollment this year as students continue to battle the higher costs of education with less aid.

“People aren’t really considering the fact that our population needs to be an educated population, and we need to invest in those students so we can have an educated workforce in the future,” said Shannon King, a communications and history senior at ASU.

King said she and other students were affected by the HOPE cuts and the federal government’s 2011 decision to no longer offer Pell Grants for summer classes.

King found out that her summer courses would not be paid for with her Pell funds shortly before classes started this summer. She was able to raise money to cover the costs through family but realized not everyone is as lucky.

“Not everybody has someone they can cry to,” King said.

Gov. Nathan Deal approved a cut to the HOPE Scholarship in 2011, when the lottery-funded program began to see less revenue.

The scholarship once covered 100 percent of in-state public college tuition, books and fees for high school graduates with a 3.0 or better grade-point average. Now those students receive 90 percent of tuition and no reimbursement for books or fees.

Only valedictorians, salutatorians and those with a 3.7 or better GPA who score at least 1200 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT receive full tuition coverage under the Zell Miller Scholarship Program.

The state also implemented higher tuition this year, which increased by 2.5 percent at most schools, including ASU.

Enrollment at the University System of Georgia’s 35 schools has gradually increased over the past two decades, but officials said that trend could change because of the economy.

Spokesman John Millsaps said USG Vice Chancellor of Fiscal Affairs John Brown predicted lower enrollments for the fall because of changes to financial aid and certain admission requirements.

“Some institutions could have an impact on enrollment this fall,” Millsaps said, adding that final enrollment figures will not be available until November.

Millsaps said the potential drop could have an impact on budgets because lower enrollment means less tuition money for the schools.

He said a new USG admission policy that denies admission to students who need too many remedial classes could also affect enrollment.

Other local colleges outside the USG are also seeing little change in growth.

Patti McGrath, the director of marketing at the University of South Carolina Aiken, said the school’s fall enrollment is even with this time last year. The school will not release its fall 2012 numbers until registration ends, but 3,277 students enrolled for fall 2011.

“We’re pretty much exactly where we were last year,” McGrath said. “Our freshmen coming in may be smaller, but transfers are up. So we’re pretty much dead even.”

Fall enrollment at Aiken Technical College is also about even with the 3,000 students at this time last year, but more students are expected to register for a shorter term starting later in the semester, according to a statement from Bryan Newton, the college’s associate vice president for marketing and enrollment management.

Though financial demands on students have grown, King said it has not deterred her from finishing school to better her future. While some students might take longer to complete classes to spread the costs, graduation is still the goal.

“They keep cutting every year, but getting a college education is still important,” she said.

ASU FALL ENROLLMENT

2012/6,498

2011/6,740

2010/6,919

2009/7,061

2008/6,689

Source: ASU and the National Center for Education Statistics

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rmwardsr
525
Points
rmwardsr 08/29/12 - 08:23 pm
6
1

People aren’t really

People aren’t really considering the fact that our population needs to be an educated population, and we need to invest in those students so we can have an educated workforce in the future,” said Shannon King, a communications and history senior at ASU.

Do not take a student loan from Sallie Mae under any circumstances. If I knew then what I know now, I would have never took student loans. I was a victim of the economy, and in December 2008, I was laid off from a job, and was unable to find new employment until April 2010. The student loan people harassed me endlessly, they did not care that I was out of work, or that the economy was bad, and they even told me that they did not have to work with me in any way, they would not reduce my payments, or take less than what they were owed. They are now garnisheeing my salary and I would not pay them one cent more than they are now getting even if I won the lottery tomorrow.
This is how students are lured in. They are offered a loan, and it is usually a little more than what tuition and books will cost. After a few weeks they are given a check for the remainder of the loan, which is usually around $300-$400. Great, you now have money to help out with buying gas and eating, and going to movies, and buying beer, etc.
The whole time the meter keeps running, and next thing you know, you owe more money than a small house costs. My advice to parents, if you have small children, start some sort of college savings plan now, so that when the time comes, the money will be there. I really wish I could come up with the money to complete my college education, but Sallie Mae has me by the short hairs, and I can't even buy a car without jumping through hoops.
And one other thing, enrollment will shrink even further once the new name is implemented. Who wants a diploma with a name that looks like it came from a diploma mill on it.

Fools_and_sages
360
Points
Fools_and_sages 08/29/12 - 09:34 pm
4
1

College costs in GA

Unpublished

Relative to the rest of the country, GA has relatively low tuition for in-state students, especially when HOPE and Zell Miller are figured in. Even if students don't qualify for Zell Miller or HOPE, PELL will pay full tuition for disadvantaged students and all you have to do to maintain PELL eligibility is pass 66% of your courses.

When I graduated from college up north in the early 90s, I had student loan debt of about $5500. I went to a state school. I got state grants and PELL because I was needy enough. I also received a state scholarship of a whopping $50 a semester for being a straight A student in high school. I also had a campus work study job, a second campus job, and worked a full-time job every summer so I had spending money and I could pay for part of my dorm and a meal plan costs. I also had to buy my own books and pay school fees on my own. When adjusted for inflation, $5500 in 1992 equals about $9000 in 2012. I paid off that $5500 by living at home after graduation for a few years and working a $7 an hour job (which would be an $11.50 an hour job now). I also got my BA in four years without taking summer classes because I took 5 or 6 classes a semester like I was supposed to in order to graduate on time. Many students in GA got spoiled by getting tuition, books, and fees paid for. They got spoiled by taking four classes a semester and making up the other courses in the summer. Now, many students think that if the government isn't going to foot the bill for their education and they might have to work harder for that degree, they just won't get one. Additionally, since the USG has stricter admissions standards, ASU's enrollments might have been negatively affected because the majority of ASU students come from local high schools that have trouble meeting AYP every year. In view of this last point, becoming a regional, national, and international educational destination will help GRU's enrollments because there is a much larger pool to recruit from. Even if local enrollment drops, non-local enrollment should increase as GRU's reputation increases. In the end, the name will mean very little-- even if the name isn't what the community wanted and we always have hard feelings over how the name was chosen.

Riverman1
70700
Points
Riverman1 08/30/12 - 04:18 am
5
0

Reason for Decline in Students

The name has nothing to do with the quality of the education. Having the name Augusta does not preclude improving the academics. But the reason the number of students is decreasing is the extension schools around now. Georgia Military, Troy and internet schools all take students from ASU.

Just My Opinion
4669
Points
Just My Opinion 08/30/12 - 04:44 am
3
0

And River, the reason

And River, the reason students are going to those schools is because of the cost....pure and simple. The day has come that students, and their parents, are having to shop around for the school that will be the best fit academically and FINANCIALLY. That's why it makes much more sense (cents?) for students who live in the CSRA to attend closer schools like ASU, Paine, Augusta Tech, Aiken Tech, etc..

avidreader
2635
Points
avidreader 08/30/12 - 05:43 am
2
0

To rmwardsr

I appreciate your honesty, especially in this public forum. I would comment further, but you've pretty much said it all. Good luck with those loans, and please, do finish your education.

corgimom
19344
Points
corgimom 08/30/12 - 05:47 am
4
2

I went to state schools, and

I went to state schools, and I received a fine education. I went to classes, did my work, studied hard, didn't party.

In grad school I had 5 part time jobs, all at the same time. I was getting a grad degree and an undergrad degree at the same time, so I overloaded every semester.

You make choices, you decide what's important to you.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 08/30/12 - 06:30 am
4
0

GRU

Greatly Reducing Undergraduates

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 08/30/12 - 06:41 am
2
0

Augusta College Issues

Others have said it here in other ways, but Augusta (Whatever Name This Year) now has competitors that are better ranked in the immediate market area. Some of these competitors are more flexible than Augusta Whatever in hours, classes, location and/or degrees.

Think about it this way Regent University is in the 200's and they are suing over the GRU name.

Paine College was ranked #63 for Regional Southern Colleges
http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/paine-colleg...

Augusta State College was ranked Teir 2 (unranked)
http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/augusta-stat...

BTW: Troy University tied Paine College at #63

rmwardsr
525
Points
rmwardsr 08/30/12 - 07:46 am
2
0

OpenCurtain, you are exactly

OpenCurtain, you are exactly right. The current degree offerings are limited at Augusta State University, especially in the Business School. They only offer four degrees in the Business School, so one's options are limited at ASU. There are many schools online where one may complete a degree in whatever one chooses and in most cases the tuition is the same or less than ASU.

Little Lamb
40208
Points
Little Lamb 08/30/12 - 11:01 am
2
1

Respond to stimuli

It is heartening to see students responding to conditions around them. If the free money is not there to pay for your college expenses, then the ones who shouldn't be in college in the first place are the first to bail.

Little Lamb
40208
Points
Little Lamb 08/30/12 - 08:23 am
1
1

Millsaps

This John Millsaps is identified as a spokesman for the University System of Georgia. Reporter Tracey McManus quotes him as saying, “Some institutions could have an impact on enrollment this fall.” I think he could have phrased that a little better, whatever it means.

Then, Millsaps offered another pearl of wisdom, saying the drop in enrollment “could have an impact on budgets because lower enrollment means less tuition money for the schools.” Duh, ya think? I shudder to think how much we taxpayers are paying this spokesman.

Rob Pavey
520
Points
Rob Pavey 08/30/12 - 08:54 am
2
0

college costs still rise as HOPE shrinks....

The reduction of HOPE from 100 percent tuition plus books/fees to 90 percent tuition and no books/fees isn't the whole story. The 90 percent is 90 percent of the fiscal 2010-11 tuition cost - and tuition has risen twice since then (thanks Board of Regents), while HOPE has not, so a lot of kids are paying more than you might think. Lots of smaller school fees have been created or increased to help colleges collect more revenue. It's like your cell bill or credit card bill - nickels and dimes here and there add up. That being said, HOPE is still a great program and every dime students don't have to earn or borrow gives them more energy to devote to academics. If funds continue to fall short, Georgia should increase the academic standards for recipients. I've always thought 3.0 was too low - and it simply gave a lot of kids a free year to party before flunking out. My understanding is that about 70 percent of HOPE-funded freshmen fail to qualify for continued HOPE participation after that first year.

noway
201
Points
noway 08/30/12 - 09:12 am
1
0

money

You all make good points, but this money excuse is just that. If parents and kids think that education is important enough, they find a way to go. It's funny out families always seem to have enough money to spend on a big wedding, or a new car....but they won't do the same for a child's education. The affordability of college here in Georgia is amazing!! People should be taking advantage. It's just crazy that there are expensive cars, clothes, phones, etc. on campus, but people complain about the cost of college when that definitely increases options for the future.

Riverman1
70700
Points
Riverman1 08/30/12 - 09:17 am
0
1

I have no problem with branch

I have no problem with branch schools like Troy being here providing a more convenient education. The same with the internet schools. But it does take from ASU. Should there be something like hospitals have. A Certificate of Need before another school can open in a community?

Little Lamb
40208
Points
Little Lamb 08/30/12 - 09:18 am
2
0

Drop-outs

Those are some good points, Rob. They kind of tie in to something Dr. Azziz said last week, i.e., that the graduation rate at ASU is among the lowest in the system. When a freshman enrolls, he remains in the denominator of the graduation rate formula even if he drops out because of lack of funding. ASU's remedial education program and their desire to enroll students not suitable for college work brings in short-term money, but does not improve academic quality. Azziz is going to have to clean house over there to change the mentality to where the admission standards and academics are tougher than they are today.

just an opinion
2123
Points
just an opinion 08/30/12 - 09:19 am
0
1

Get rid of the books!

One (1) iPad and laptop should get you through four years.

Little Lamb
40208
Points
Little Lamb 08/30/12 - 09:49 am
0
0

Higher Education in Augusta

A quick look in the Yellow Pages showed these institutions in Augusta:

Brenau University, Davis Rd.
Broadway (a Baptist seminary), Barton Chapel Rd.
Cambridge College, Broad St.
Central Michigan University, Ft. Gordon
Southern Illinois University, Ft. Gordon
Strayer University, Augusta West Pkwy.
Troy University, Perimeter Pkwy.
University of Phoenix, Perimeter Pkwy.
Virginia College, Wylds Rd.
Webster University, Barnes Ave.

That's not counting the familiar Augusta State, Georgia Military, MCG, Paine, and USC–Aiken.

And there are technical schools including Augusta Tech, Georgia Carolina Industrial, and Miller-Motte Tech.

Competition is a beautiful thing.

Riverman1
70700
Points
Riverman1 08/30/12 - 10:08 am
0
0

Yep, about all the schools. I

Yep, about all the schools. I guess what I'm saying is that there are more college students now than a few years ago, although they are not going to ASU.

Little Lamb
40208
Points
Little Lamb 08/30/12 - 02:38 pm
0
0

Rejects!

Tracey McManus posted a link up above from May, 2012, where Azziz was all excited about the increased number of applicaions that had been sent to ASU. He attributed it to "excitement" about merging the two schools. Of course that was in May. Now we get the cold, hard facts that actual enrollment is down. Of course, in May, the committee was still working on the name, and the word "Regents" was not on anybody's radar. Perhaps the excitement of the merger turned into disgust when propective students learned that their school would be pronounced GROOO. And can't you just hear it when the Jaguars show up on a visitors' ball field or basketball court —

Rejects!
Rejects!
Rejects!

ASU Sees More Applications For Fall

KSL
106066
Points
KSL 08/30/12 - 06:42 pm
0
0

Sort of like having to revise

Sort of like having to revise the weekly unemployment rates by the Feds?

KSL
106066
Points
KSL 08/30/12 - 06:46 pm
0
0

My kids have been out of

My kids have been out of college for 18 years. Can you use a Hope scholarship or a student loan or a Pell grant for an online education?

KSL
106066
Points
KSL 08/30/12 - 06:59 pm
0
0

I know adult USCA supporters

I know adult USCA supporters who are feeling badly for ASU regarding the adulterations the students will come up with for the name change. Ivory tower Dr Az, for all of his foresight and brilliance in his field, wasn't and apparently still isn't capable of thinking beyond his expertise.

createyourfuture
66
Points
createyourfuture 08/30/12 - 07:04 pm
0
0

ASU enrollment falls

Could it be that students are voting with their feet? Imagine that! Over the next decade, higher education is going to radically change due to not only local competition, but Internet competition. You can already get online courses from Yale, Stanford and MIT. If you have someone that teaches freshman English very well, they could teach to thousands of students, many of them in their pajamas watching on screen. One of the reasons for consolidations (but not here) is to eliminate teaching the same core courses in two state institutions less than 50 miles apart. If you want to learn more, read the Chronicle of Higher education and search for Paul M. Baker.

Also, students want a real name on their diploma, not Georgia Regents University. Students come to Augusta for a reason. Expect the golf team to tank, and enrollment to tumble. The name GRU just sucks.

PKRichmond
68
Points
PKRichmond 08/31/12 - 04:33 am
0
0

Azziz is still not even in

Azziz is still not even in ASU but the blame attack started already

Riverman1
70700
Points
Riverman1 08/31/12 - 06:00 am
0
0

PKRich, Dr. Azziz office is

PKRich, Dr. Azziz office is at ASU.

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