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Interest, enrollment growing at UNG’s Cumming Campus

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To support the growing student body on the Cumming Campus, a pavilion and casual indoor and outdoor seating have been added recently to give students places to relax and study between classes.

The dual enrollment program for high school students at the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Cumming Campus has tripled in size since the campus opened in 2012, helping to drive an increase in overall enrollment.

"Our Cumming Campus is a tremendous example of collaboration between the University System of Georgia, government officials and community leaders to expand opportunities for higher education in this region," said UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs. "The combination of price, functionality, attractiveness and partner collaboration has established a new template for how to provide higher education in areas that are underserved."

UNG’s dual enrollment program allows high school students to earn both high school and college credit by taking college courses. Tuition for students enrolled in the program is usually paid by Georgia’s Accel program and does not count against potential HOPE Scholarship awards. A high school student who begins taking courses in his or her junior year could enter college as a sophomore, saving a year of time and college tuition.

Jason Pruitt, executive director for UNG's Cumming Campus, has watched the program grow from 44 students in 2012 to 119 students from 17 area high schools in 2014. He expects the trend to continue for fall 2015, as more than 400 students and parents attended two dual enrollment information sessions in January. Enrollment in the dual enrollment program is projected to be around 150 for fall 2015.

"We're committed to growing our dual enrollment program on all of our campuses," Pruitt said.

The Accel program, offered in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Education, draws students from public and private high schools in Forsyth, Dawson and Cherokee counties, Pruitt said, and accounts for about one-fifth of the enrollment at the Cumming Campus.

UNG offers a wide range of courses in Cumming and a recent open house session held on the Cumming Campus drew more than 200 people, Pruitt said.

Most of the undergraduate courses offered in Cumming are the general education or core curriculum courses required of all students, regardless of their chosen field of study. Two UNG graduate programs also are based on the Cumming Campus: the Cottrell MBA program and the Master of Arts in Teaching.

To support the growing student body on the Cumming Campus, a pavilion and casual indoor and outdoor seating have been added recently to give students places to relax and study between classes. Also, a sand volleyball pit will be installed this summer and additional classroom furniture is on order, Pruitt said. As the campus continues to grow, long-term plans include adding a second classroom building.

Pruitt added that he's been pleased with the lasting relationships the faculty and administrators have forged as UNG has been welcomed into the area. This year, he's working on establishing a community council involving members of the Cumming and Forsyth County community.

"A big thing for us is the involvement with the community and the partnerships that we are developing and have developed in the community, and not only the high schools," Pruitt said.

The Cumming Campus was developed as an outgrowth of a long-term partnership between North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College, which consolidated in January to form UNG. In addition to the two schools, the Cumming Campus represents the culmination of many years of effort with the city of Cumming and various Forsyth County civic leaders to bring a university presence to the area.

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