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GRU undergrad enrollment declines for fall semester

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 6:30 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 1:40 AM
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For its first fall semester as a consolidated university, undergraduate enrollment at Georgia Regents University dropped by about 420 students compared with the former Augusta State University’s fall 2012 class, according to a consolidation progress report.

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Students walk across campus at Georgia Regents University's Summerville Campus. Enrollment for the school has fallen slightly recently. The decrease continues an enrollment decline ASU had experienced every year since 2009.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Students walk across campus at Georgia Regents University's Summerville Campus. Enrollment for the school has fallen slightly recently. The decrease continues an enrollment decline ASU had experienced every year since 2009.

The decrease continues an enrollment decline ASU had experienced every year since 2009, but Vice Provost Roman Cibirka said the new demographics indicate a more prepared and qualified student body.

While the overall undergraduate count fell to 5,669, GRU recruited nearly the exact same number of new freshman as ASU did in 2012, indicating the loss came from sophomores, juniors and seniors. Of the 762 freshman, 71 percent of students are taking at least 15 credits this semester compared with 9 percent of students in 2012.

The push for full-time course loads is part of the university’s effort to help students finish a degree on time or at all – something ASU struggled with in the past. In 2010, only 7 percent of ASU students completed a bachelor’s degree in four years while 25 percent finished in six.

“We put a very strong effort towards advising students at the time of enrollment and discussing with students and parents the importance of graduation,” Cibirka said.

Even with a strong freshman class, the undergraduate enrollment dropped to 5,669 this year, bringing total enrollment to 9,002. Cibirka said the university is gathering data to find which colleges lost the most students and for what reasons.

The number of graduate students this semester remained mostly unchanged at 1,590, health sciences professional students increased by about 40 to 1,220 and dental/medical residents remained the same at 523. New undergraduate transfer students also increased this year to 740 from 539 in 2012.

GRU officials hope to reach 10,684 enrollment in fall 2020 while continuing to recruit higher-caliber students. The freshman index, the minimum SAT score and GPA requirement used in admissions, rose this fall to 2040 from ASU’s 1940.

GRU gradually will increase its minimum index score over time to reach 2500, a more typical score for research universities.

To continue access for lower-achieving students, GRU launched a partnership with East Georgia State College, where students take 30 credit hours as EGSC students and transfer to GRU as sophomores if they complete those courses with at least a 2.0 GPA.

It replaces the University College program, which provided remediation courses for students who did not meet entrance requirements for ASU.

Cibirka said the university’s lower enrollment this year was not surprising, since most consolidated schools see a decline in the first year. Because the University System of Georgia Board of Regents only approved the consolidation in January, recruiting efforts were also delayed.

Cibirka could not provide an enrollment goal for fall 2014 but said recruitment will continue to focus in Georgia and beyond to recruit a high-caliber student.

“In the end, even though our enrollment numbers are steady or slightly lower, were are pleased with the outcome,” he said.

 UndergradGraduateHealthScience professionalDental/medical residentsTotal
GRU Fall 20135,6691,5901,2205239,002
ASU/GHSU Fall 20126,0921,6081,1815239,404
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Gage Creed
Gage Creed 10/08/13 - 09:19 pm
Lil' Ricky... you got some

Lil' Ricky... you got some "splaining" to do

willie7 10/08/13 - 10:50 pm
Glad to see GRU recruiting

Glad to see GRU recruiting better prepared students.
Good colleges across America are doing the same because so much money has been wasted on poorly prepared students who often drop out.

vegasbaby 10/09/13 - 06:59 am
Freshman are coming to the school, they just aren't staying...

My son started at ASU in 2008, while choosing to take about 12 hours per semester and working part-time, He has had to stay out a couple of semesters because the one class he needed to continue in his major was already full, and the advisors could do nothing to help an upperclassman continue in his education without interruptions. This "class" needs to be offered more if so important. He finally has gotten into this class this semester, and still has 2 to go after this... He has a determination to finish, but the advisors don't guide them as well as they could. Just keep them in the school taking classes they don't need and wasting money is more their speed. I think there are also a lot of freshmen who lose their Hope Scholarship monies after the first year and don't come back. Would like to hear if others have experienced the no-help advising, every student for themselves attitude for asu/gru students. There is much room for improvement with this that would benefit both the school and the students.

palmetto1008 10/09/13 - 07:28 am
Perhaps your college-ready

Perhaps your college-ready child should take more responsibility for knowing and understanding his degree requirements and montoring his own progress? It's all laid out for him in black and white.

Fiat_Lux 10/09/13 - 08:39 am
nailed it, vegasbaby.

The advising has been very inadequate. I don't believe the attitude has been that the quality of the students enrolled at ASU, or in the baccalaureate programs at MCG for that matter, that it merited much effort to keep them on track to graduate.

Perhaps programs with only a few students enrolled did better, but in my experience, students are totally on their own unless they pushed for assistance.

nocnoc 10/09/13 - 09:41 am
Maybe they are thinking about

Students loans and the poor job market for college degree'd graduates.

Too Many Americans, for too long, only have been concerned about "cheap" and imports were the solution.

Accordingly, the number of USA based technology markets has shrunk, thus reducing the need for lots of brains with IT / Electronics degrees here vs. there. Even the Financial markets are posing for a shift to overseas. As I have already seen a few Pacific Rim based Banks in Metro-Atlanta.

So before a young person undertakes $80k to $120k in students loans maybe they are waiting to see if Obama_Ed is on the horizon?

soldout 10/09/13 - 10:07 am

Maybe they want to graduate from a school that at least has the name of the town in it's name.

raul 10/09/13 - 02:41 pm
@vegasbaby. " I think there

@vegasbaby. " I think there are also a lot of freshmen who lose their Hope Scholarship monies after the first year and don't come back." I think the Hope scholarship shouldn't kick in until the second year and the student has maintained a B average.

Riverman1 10/09/13 - 04:57 pm
I remember thinking years ago

I remember thinking years ago that ASU would surely hit 10,000 students by now. They were growing. Something happened.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 10/10/13 - 12:05 pm
Freshmen are coming, they're just not staying.

Once you get there as a freshman and begin to learn what is going on, you discover that there are so many majors unavailable at Grooo that are available elsewhere in Georgia and S.C., you decide it would be better to transfer and graduate with a degree that you actually want rather than a degree that you must settle for.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 10/10/13 - 12:08 pm

We read some articles last year stating that Grooo is going to toughen the undergraduate admission standards. That's a good thing, because now they'll admit anyone with a pulse. But when they toughen the standards, they will naturally see enrollment decline further.

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