Georgia colleges see drop in enrollment

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ATLANTA — Preliminary figures show that more than half the schools in the University System of Georgia are teaching fewer students this fall than last year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that final figures are not expected until next month.

However, early data provided to the newspaper indicate that the system is reversing more than a decade of record-setting enrollment.

Early projections show that the system enrolled 312,600 students by Sept. 6, a 1.1 percent drop from the 316,095 the prior year. It is only the third time since 1978 that enrollment has dropped.

The data indicates that five schools dropped by more than 10 percent: Fort Valley State University; and Bainbridge, Georgia Perimeter, East Georgia State and Gordon State colleges.

Augusta State University’s enrollment dropped this fall for the third consecutive year. The university had 6,498 students at the end of the second week of the semester, compared to 6,740 this time last year and 6,919 in fall 2010.

Staff reports were used in this story.

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Riverman1 10/09/12 - 03:16 pm
Online and out of state

Online and out of state extension schools are cutting into the number of students at traditional colleges in the state.

Fools_and_sages 10/09/12 - 05:19 pm
Cuts in student aid

The Federal government has restructured PELL grants so that they only cover tuition for fall and spring semester. PELL can't be used for summer if you go to school full-time. The Federal government has also begun to cap student loans at amounts students need for tuition and books,instead of providing lots of extra money for living expenses unless that extra money can be justified. State cuts to HOPE have also occurred over the last couple years, decreasing state aid to a lot of students as well. A lot of ASU students also refuse to take 5 classes per semester, which means it takes them 6 or 8 years to graduate if they can't take summer courses. They run out of PELL and HOPE after a certain number of semesters or credits, depending on the program. When people are used to going to school for free (or close to it) because the state and/or federal government is footing the bill and they suddenly can't go to school for free (or close to it), they are prone to dropping out.

Personally, I think it's ludicrous when people say college is too expensive in GA. Compare ASU's current tuition to other schools like it in other states and it's a bargain. You would pay twice as much to go to a similar school in rural New York state about 350 miles from New York City. Compare UGA's tuition to many other flagship state universities in other states and you'd see it's a bargain, too. Some states have in-state tution that is twice as much as GA's. College is cheap in GA for GA residents who are also good students-- even without federal PELL grants and HOPE or Zell Miller scholarships that don't have to be paid back.

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