GHC fall enrollment numbers up 7 percent
The enrollment numbers at Georgia Highlands College have been on a steady rise in 2015, when compared to 2014. Following an enrollment increase in the summer, fall semester enrollment rose 7.1 percent.
GHC President Don Green attributes these increases to a number of efforts by all faculty and staff in the areas of recruitment, retention and increased marketing.
Fall 2015 enrollment in the University System of Georgia’s 30 colleges and universities totaled 318,164 students, an increase of 1.7 percent (or 5,228 more students) over fall 2014.
“We are encouraged by the year over year increase in our fall enrollment, but this is just the beginning and we still have work ahead of us to continually increase the number of Georgians with college degrees,” said USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “We are staying focused on our Complete College Georgia initiative, and will continue our efforts to recruit and retain students, and fully support them through their completion of college.”
According to the “Fall 2015 Semester Enrollment Report,” GHC had the third highest enrollment increase in the state.
GHC’s 7.1 percent enrollment increase includes a 21 percent increase in Latino enrollment numbers, as well. A significant rise that resulted from the efforts of the Latino Outreach Team, a group comprised of both faculty and staff who are focused on volunteering to organize greater Latino participation in higher education.
“Not only have we seen increases in enrollment,” Green said, “we have also seen our retention rate go up 3.5 percent, which is a testament to the many efforts GHC has made to keep students engaged and on a pathway to success.”
A Student Success Coach Initiative was formed to help maintain and increase retention rates, Green added.
He said the initiative is a perfect way to emphasize the “contract GHC has with its students to do all it can to help them complete.”
The Student Success Coach Initiative was born out of GHC’s student organization Brother 2 Brother (B2B), which has high retention rates among its members. B2B is part of the GHC initiative GHAME (Georgia Highlands African American and Minority Male Excellence), which is a part of the USG's statewide program AAMI (African American Male Initiative).
“Brother 2 Brother has achieved 75 to 80 percent retention rates over the years,” Green said. “They are a great organization of young men who hold each other accountable for academic accomplishment. They have been named national chapter of the year three of the last four years. It’s a great student organization to model after.”
The Student Success Coach Initiative gave all 2015 first-time, full-time GHC students the opportunity to work with faculty or staff members who would act as their success coach for the year. Almost 200 faculty/staff members volunteered to be success coaches for over 900 students.
Success coaches meet and communicate with students several times throughout the year to make sure the student isn’t having any issues with their classes, scheduling, time management, payment, tutoring, etc.
The goal of the initiative is to provide first-time students with a smooth first year and lead them toward a successful experience at GHC.
“It’s great to see that even in a time when population and economic trends have created some challenges for state colleges,” Green said, “our faculty and staff are uniting to enhance what we do, expand recruitment efforts and implement a variety of initiatives intended to increase student retention.”
The news of increased enrollment at GHC comes on the heels of the college being named the “best value” and “best return on investment” in the state by a 2015 federal report
GHC was named as one of the 45 two-year public colleges in the country with the best ratio of tuition costs to graduates’ earnings by the new federal College Scorecard website (collegescorecard.ed.gov).
The database was built to help students better understand which colleges will provide the best return on investment. The site aims to provide students with “the clearest, most accessible, and most reliable national data on college cost, graduation, debt and post-college earnings.”
Only two colleges were highlighted in Georgia. GHC was highlighted in the two-year category and Georgia Institute of Technology in the four-year category.
The enrollment numbers were released in the System’s “Fall 2015 Semester Enrollment Report,” which breaks down enrollment by institution, class, race and ethnicity, in-state, out-of-state and international students, as well as gender and age.
The full enrollment report can be accessed at: