Perspective Online

UWG Enrollment Notably Increases for Fall

by Adrian Greer

Enrollment at the University of West Georgia is up 2.3 percent for the Fall 2014 semester, which is one of the best improvements in the state for a comprehensive university. Enrollment for the university increased from 11,929 to 12,206 from Fall 2013.

UWG Enrollment Notably Increases for Fall “We are excited to have record enrollment for the third year in a row,” UWG President Kyle Marrero said. “We’ve worked hard to ensure that our marketing, recruitment, and retention efforts create and support the success of our students. We believe the numbers show we are on the right track.”

This record is especially impressive considering that the number of high school graduates in the state were down in 2014, which meant that universities needed to find alternative areas to continue to increase enrollment. UWG put a focus on attracting not only high school seniors, but transfer students, veterans, non-traditional older students, and maintaining the students who were currently enrolled.

“There was no one ‘magic bullet’ that was a key to our success,” Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management John Head said. “We were fortunate that a lot of the new programs and methods that we developed paid off.”

Technically, like the number of state graduating high school seniors overall, the number of new freshmen at the university was down, 2,091 from 2,121 the year prior, so the increase came from other sources, according to Head.

“We made large gains in our retention rate, the number of students that we kept from their first year to their second year increased from 70.76 in 2012-2013 to 74.16 between 2013-2014,” he said. “That more than made up in the drop in number of freshmen.”

Head credits this drop to an increased focus on new students and new programs to make sure freshmen get any help they need and in a timely manner.

“We now have ‘At-Risk Alerts’ that allow professors to let us know if a student is having a problem, at any point of the semester,” Head said. “If they have missed several classes early in the semester, we can contact them and ask them if they have an illness and need to see a nurse or if they need to talk to an advisor.”

And while some may say that this new system seems intrusive or overbearing, Head said that he has seen a lot of students who appreciate that someone is trying to help.

“We didn’t know exactly what to expect when we started this program and what the students would say when we contacted them,” he said. “But they have been very appreciative so far. They are glad that someone cares enough to reach out to them and to try and help them.”

The university has also instituted a new class-planning tool to help students create better schedules and individualized case management for advising that gives a student one specific advisor and focuses on utilizing the Advising Center and the Center for Academic Success.

“Our end goal is for students to take responsibility for and ownership of their educational goals and decisions,” Head said. “But to also recognize that students are at various stages in the developmental process and that some students may need help to continue to develop to reach that goal.”

The increases in student retention and overall enrollment point to some early success from these efforts, and that success is a key part of what UWG is trying to achieve, according to the president.

“At UWG, we aspire to be the best place to work, learn, and succeed. We know that means attracting right-fit students, creating an environment in which they can thrive, and preparing them to succeed in the classroom and in life,” Marrero said. “All of our efforts are directed at doing just that and we hope that students at all stages of their college careers will continue to recognize UWG as an innovative, engaging university by trusting us to provide them with a high-quality, market-relevant education.”


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Posted: December 3, 2014

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