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UNG Blue Ridge Campus student enrollment expected to rise by 25 percent

Aug. 28, 2017 - The University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Blue Ridge Campus is growing by leaps and bounds.

In its first year in 2015, the college campus welcomed 20 students. The next year, 114 students enrolled. This year, the school is expecting to enroll 140 students in the fall, UNG Blue Ridge Campus Director Sandy Ott said.

"It’s about a 25 percent increase," she said, pointing out the university will hit its growth goals.

The growth from 2015 to 2016 marked a 539 percent increase, said Lori L. Bramlett, the assistant director for enrollment services on the Blue Ridge campus. She said the growth is in line with the administration’s goals.

"The goal of 140 students (for the fall) was created by administration," Bramlett said in an email. "We take into account the high school graduates in the area, physical space and capacity of the campus, course availability, and persistence of current students when looking at goals."

The Blue Ridge Campus houses a unique learning opportunity that allows new students who are selected as Blue Ridge Scholars to take all their classes together, participate in leadership development opportunities and give back to the community.  This program was designed to increase the success rate of UNG students, which has been the outcome of similar nationally recognized models of higher education.   The program is going strong as it enters its second year. 

With more students being served, the Blue Ridge Campus is offering more courses. When the school opened, it only offered two classes: political science and psychology. Now, Blue Ridge has scheduled 19 classes ranging from English, Spanish, math, and political science to geology lab sciences. Five full-time faculty members teach all of the classes.

"By offering the core classes, we are able to keep students on the Blue Ridge Campus longer before they transfer to another (UNG) campus or to another institution," Bramlett said, adding the campus allows students to live at home while continuing their education.

The exponential growth also has necessitated the growth in student activities on campus as well. The campus participates in Weeks of Welcome just like the other campuses and offers a year-round lunch-and-learn series to name a couple.

"And there are lots of activities planned for the fall semester," Ott said, pointing to an upcoming cookout and alumni event. "Area alumni will be invited to network and meet current students."

The Blue Ridge Campus will host its inaugural Tomato Sandwich Supper for faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Community members will also be invited.

"This will be our invitation to the community, to our students and alumni to give them an update on the campus," Ott said.

The Tomato Sandwich Supper will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, at 83 Dunbarton Farm Road in Blue Ridge. UNG President Dr. Bonita Jacobs will present the first Georgia Mountain Scholarship.

Ott said she hopes this will become an annual event similar to the Starlight celebration on the Gainesville Campus and OconeeFest on the Oconee Campus.

"It's a community celebration where we are spotlighting our students, thanking the community for their support and connecting our area alumni," she said.

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