Enrollment drops at Georgia's Colleges and Universities

5:51 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
25 year old Timothy Roberts had to quit school when his grant money ran out.
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 PDF Document: Fall Enrollment

ATLANTA -- The early numbers are in and the news isn't good for post secondary institutions in Georgia.  Preliminary fall enrollment numbers are down.

According to numbers from the University System of Georgia, enrollment is down at more than half the state's institutions.

RELATED | Fall enrollment statistics

"We've been warning them for the last 15 months to plan for enrollment decreases," said spokesman John Millsaps.

"Sad to say it doesn't surprise me," said 25 year old Timothy Roberts, who couldn't complete his course, at Georgia Perimeter College, after his Pell Grant ran out. "It's hard out here. Most people trying to just look for a job and trying to make money. Cause school is expensive."  

Yes it is. In Georgia, depending on the school, tuition for a semester can run from $1,266 to $3,859 for a semester.

And getting scholarship money is even tougher than before. HOPE no longer funds the full freight, according to Millsaps, only about 88% of the full tuition.  Scholarship money it can be harder to get, depending on grades.

"We've seen a small decline in the number of students getting an award there, about 3%," said Tracy Ireland, spokesperson for the Georgia Student Finance Commission.

The good news comes from lottery revenues, which posted a record profit last year. $900 million was transferred to state coffers.  Ireland expects that will help the HOPE scholarship program achieve its funding levels over the next few years.

Millsaps also attributes some of the enrollment decline to shifting demographics because of lower birth rates recorded 19 years ago.

However, some schools expect their numbers to go up in the next semester. Georgia Perimeter College, which saw it's fall enrollment levels down 13% over a year ago expects that to adjust when more students to enroll.

Timothy Roberts hopes he can afford to continue his education in January.

"I hope so because I know that college is really the only way that you can make something," Roberts said.

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