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Valdosta State announces high enrollment growth

A virtual press event was hosted on Nov. 16 to give media outlets an opportunity to ask questions about VSU’s enrollment increase between fall 2019 and fall 2020. This is the highest enrollment increase out of all 26 schools in the University System of Georgia.
According to USG’s enrollment report, the current enrollment is 12,304 while last fall 2019 had an enrollment of 11,207.
“This enrollment increase is significant to our region in terms of economic impact,” Jessica Pope, communications and media relations coordinator said.
Graduate students are up 2.1% for this year with a total of 2,732. Compared to 2019 there was 2,680. Dr. Becky da Cruz, associate provost for graduate studies and research says graduate students make up about 22% of the overall student population.
Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Ryan Hogan says one thing VSU focused on to bring in students was communication.
“We focused on communicating exclusively with the students,” Hogan said. “Trying to talk to them as individuals so if they had questions or concerns or things like that.”
Part of VSU’s enrollment increase has to do with the requirements being changed for admission due to COVID-19.
“We’ve relaxed rules on the testing to make it easier and more possible for more students to join VSU, both at the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Dr. Cruz.
“The GRE’s for example, were difficult. A lot of places were closed as a result of the pandemic, so our programs were willing to consider students with delayed tests or no test scores. That created a wonderful opportunity for students who may not have considered attending college at this point, or VSU.”
Hogan said graduate assistants like Eric Mortimer have also taken part in helping increase enrollment numbers by conducting open houses virtually.
“Eric Mortimer and many of his colleagues led virtual tours of our campus sometimes two to three times a day,” Hogan said.
For upcoming semesters, Hogan says that VSU is hoping for another enrollment increase and has prepared for those numbers.
“Looking towards the fall, we’re hoping to hit the same number, if not grow a little bit,” Hogan said. “We’re definitely over what we were last year, but we’re prepared for a little bit more students than what we had for the fall 2020.”

Story written by Kayla Pool, Managing Editor. Photos courtesy of Kilie Huckleby.

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