by Brian Hickey, Jr.
This fall, campus may seem less crowded than usual, but enrollment administrators are trying to appeal to potential students and increase the amount of students on campus.
VSU is a Division II university that educates roughly 12,000 students as of 2012, a large number for such a small institution located in South Georgia. Students travel from all corners of the state of Georgia and all corners of the world to earn a degree at VSU, and because of that, fall enrollment plays a pivotal role in the prestige and expansion of the university.
As of this year there have been many fluctuations in the number of students who enroll at VSU in the fall, and though numbers relatively remain the same, there have been some noticeable changes.
VSU’s fall enrollment for 2012 was 12,515 students, a smaller number than the 13,089 students in 2011. In fact, fall enrollment numbers had been on a steady incline since 2004 until 2012. With lower numbers than the previous year, VSU again fell below the precedent with enrollment this fall being 11,830 students, one of the lowest numbers in the past five years.
These numbers may actually have room for growth before midterm; VSU has a flex term which starts the second seven weeks of the semester which could create a small increase.
The reason for the drop in enrollment numbers may also have to do with the economy. “The economy has not improved well,” Andy Clark, interim vice president for enrollment, marketing and communications, said. “A lot of students are staying home and going to school in Atlanta.”
This is not surprising. Students coming from the Atlanta Metro Area make up nearly 30 percent of the student population as released in 2012-2013 VSU factsheet.
VSU, however, does not believe that enrollment numbers will remain low since VSU has been allowed to offer border-county waivers to Leon and Columbia Counties which include cities such as Tallahassee and Lake City, Florida. This allows for students in those areas to pay in-state tuition upon attending VSU. The waivers aim to create interest in those regions.
“We have a (VSU) tour that goes to 12 different locations in the state.” Clark said. “We also have high school recruitment counselors that do recruitment in all regions of Georgia, so we’re doing all we can.”