While many colleges and universities are struggling with declining enrollment, the University of North Georgia (UNG) continues a trend of steady growth. Spring 2015 enrollment is up 5 percent over this past year to 15,702 – a record for spring semester at the university.
"As UNG continues to grow, it remains our goal to help students persist and graduate on time. We constantly explore avenues to maximize each student's potential for success," said UNG President Bonita Jacobs. "Our retention rate for baccalaureate students is 83 percent. Many of Georgia's top students chose UNG because we challenge them to build upon their academic excellence."
Nationally, enrollment at postsecondary institutions was down for the third consecutive year in 2014, decreasing 2.2 percent at public, four-year institutions, according to a December report from the National Student Clearinghouse. UNG is overcoming that trend through a focus on student success, said Jennifer Chadwick, associate vice president for enrollment management.
"UNG is student-focused and data-driven," Chadwick said. "To make college more accessible, we expanded online course offerings, provide affordable pathways through a choice of associate or bachelor's degree tracks and guide students through the enrollment process. Additionally, we have implemented a tuition payment plan and established a Student Money Management Center to help students budget for college and other expenses."
Students have responded to the increased number of online classes at UNG; enrollment in all online courses this semester is up 18 percent over spring 2014. Enrollment in e-Core, a partnership with the University System of Georgia to offer required core curriculum courses online, has increased 57 percent over spring 2014.
UNG also is experiencing significant growth in dual enrollment, which allows a student to simultaneously earn high school and college credit, with an 83 percent increase over spring 2014. Part of that growth is due to the expansion of dual enrollment to areas in the region like Fannin, Jackson and Union counties.
"Dual enrollment is a great opportunity for students to earn college credit while still in high school," Jacobs said. "Some of these very bright students who are taking dual enrollment courses learn what tremendous student support services UNG has in place to help them succeed and are deciding to stay as freshmen."
As UNG adds more students, the university is also working to maintain small class sizes.
"It has been a priority for us to ensure that we are able to provide a high-quality learning environment," said Dr. Patricia Donat, UNG's provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "As an institution, we are committed to actively engaging our students in and outside of the classroom."