ATLANTA – Student enrollment is continuing to decline at the University System of Georgia.
Overall enrollment for the spring semester at the system’s 26 institutions fell to 311,484, down 0.9% from last spring, Angela Bell, the system’s vice chancellor of research and policy analysis, told members of the Board of Regents Tuesday.
The system’s enrollment grew steadily from 2014 through 2021, Bell said during the regents April meeting on the campus of the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. But enrollment has declined during the last couple of years to the point where it stands only about 500 students above 2019, she said.
The enrollment drop in Georgia is part of a national trend researchers say reflects low unemployment, financial uncertainty, and the lingering effects of the pandemic.
But the declining numbers are not showing up uniformly in every category of student or every category of school within the university system.
For example, Bell said undergraduate enrollment has fallen by 5% during the last five years. However, the enrollment of graduate students has risen 24% during that same period.
Enrollment at the university system’s four research universities – the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, and Augusta University – was up 1% this spring over the spring semester of 2022. However, enrollment at the comprehensive universities – Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University, and the University of West Georgia – declined by 3% year over year, Bell said.
Demographically, enrollment of Hispanic and Asian students is on the rise. Asian students now make up 13% of the university system’s enrollment, while Hispanic students account for 11%.
The enrollment of white students has declined during the last five years to 45% of the overall student population. Black student enrollment is also down slightly, with Black students accounting for 25% of overall enrollment.