Economic downturn means upturn for college enrollment

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With some people barely scraping by in these hard times, it wouldn't seem likely that some could scrape up the cash to further their education. But as News Leader Nine found out, Georgia colleges, including Columbus State University, are seeing a spike in enrollment. The figures are surprising, but true. Columbus State University has seen an 11.7 percent increase from last year in freshmen enrollment.

CSU dean of students and enrollment management, Chip Reese, said, "Enrollment is up statewide and part of that is the economy. Tendencies show us with a downturn in the economy, enrollment goes up."

Northside High School's Guidance Director and 12th grade counselor, Lance Henderson agreed, "There's a lot of interest in CSU. A lot of students decide its better to stay home at least their freshman and sophomore years. I think a lot of that has to do with parents understanding its not only economical but it's a good education for the price."

Dean Reese attributes most of that increase to aggressive recruitment, "We've got a great team out there who work hard. We've moved into the Atlanta area, which we haven't marketed hard in the past years and also gone across the river."

And a lot of Georgia students are staying in state for college because of the money that comes from the HOPE scholarship.

"Parents are pushing students to do as well as they possibly can and HOPE numbers are up and that's why a lot of students stay in Georgia because they have the money to do so," added Henderson.

So even before students venture out into the real world, they are pinching pennies wherever they can.

Columbus state university is hosting a visitation day this Saturday. March 28th for high school seniors and their families, or anyone interested in furthering their education. The activities start at 9 o'clock at the Lumpkin Center and continue on until 1:30 Saturday afternoon. If you'd like more information on the event, you can call (706)507-8800.