ALBANY — If you want to know why Albany State University is deactivating 10 degree program majors, all one need do is look at the fall 2015 enrollment numbers released Thursday by the University System of Georgia (USG).
ASU’s fall 2015 enrollment dropped 10.7 percent from a similar period in 2014, from 3,910 students to 3,492. That is largest decline percentage-wise among the 30 schools of the University System.
Overall, the USG reported a 1.7 percent uptick in enrollment from 312,936 students to 318,164.
ASU officials last week cited falling enrollment numbers as a factor in the decision to deactivate 10 program degree majors — most coming at the expense of liberal arts.
“The issues to which we must give greater attention are recruitment and retention here at Albany State,” said Vice President and Provost Abiodun Ojemakinde. “About 418 students are no longer here for various reasons. We realize that what we must do is strengthen our retention plan and pursue an aggressive recruitment effort.”
Ojemakinde added that the issues are “much more complex” than they may appear on the surface.
He said the university has hired a new associate provost for enrollment management, a new financial aid director, and a new academic advisement and retention director; transformed institutional research to institutional effectiveness; and, brought in a new registrar within the last year.
Associate Provost Paul Bryant said efforts have also included a change in the student recruitment cycle, for recruiting to begin in the fall, instead of the spring and summer of the coming academic year.
“We are now better positioned to follow the data when it comes to retention,” Bryant said. “With the aggressive efforts of the new enrollment management and recruiting team, we exceeded the recruiting goal for freshmen in fall 2015. We must work on efforts to keep them here, with stronger recruiting, enhanced marketing efforts and a focus on bringing more of the best and brightest to Albany State.”
ASU officials said recruiting teams are spreading out across the region in the coming months. Marketing efforts have intensified to reach out to potential students in the border states of Florida, Alabama and South Carolina, and other programs such as “Go Back. Move Ahead.” and “Complete College Georgia” are now in full swing.
Additionally, collaborations with other institutions are being expanded, like the one that will begin in 2016 at the Darton State College – Cordele Campus. In January, ASU and Darton will kick off a bachelor’s degree program in one of ASU’s signature programs, Supply Chain and Logistics Management.
Regionally, Darton recorded an enrollment decline of 2.7 percent from last year (from 5,623 to 5,471); Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College fell 1.9 percent (from 3,458 to 3,393) and Georgia Southwestern State University saw a 3.3 percent increase (from 2,666 to 2,755).