College enrollment stabilizing


Chris Daniel

Enrollment is steadily increasing from the decrease in students colleges and universities saw during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Abigail Henderson, Features Editor

Nationwide college enrollment experienced a drastic decline because of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. GHC was no exception, seeing multiple semesters of decline since 2020.

According to the New York Times, “Total undergraduate enrollment dropped 3.1% from the fall of 2020 to the fall of 2021, bringing the total decline since the fall of 2019 to 6.6% — or 1,205,600 students.” 

Community colleges accounted for the most substantial losses in first-year enrollment among affected colleges, as many students delayed beginning their education or dropped out.

Consequently, many underserved students were forced to forgo their college aspirations due to the financial strain caused by the pandemic.

Fortunately, a recently released report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows that enrollment is headed back in the right direction as declines are becoming stable. 

Assistant to the President for External Relations, Nicholas Godfrey, said, “The college is less than 200 students away from an increase in enrollment for spring 2023. There is a possibility enough students start in the 8-week classes this March that GHC will be up in enrollment.”

Executive Director of Enrollment Management, Jennifer Hicks, said, “We are working to meet as many prospective students as possible to tell them GHC’s story and help them discover that GHC is the place for them.”

The GHC enrollment strategy encourages current and future students to utilize resources such as the University System of Georgia site, Georgia Degrees Pay. The site offers valuable insight for students as they assess their educational options by weighing future earnings, student success and the cost of attendance associated with a college degree.

“As an access mission college, Georgia Highlands College tuition and fees are significantly lower than nearly every college in the country,” Godfrey said. “Increasing enrollment is a driving factor for expanding, growing, and funding GHC’s access mission model.”

Hicks is interested in making the entire enrollment process “easier and more understandable” for students. 

“When brand new college students apply to GHC, they encounter expectations and processes they have never experienced before,” Hicks said. “My job is to figure out how to make that experience better. I welcome ideas anyone has, especially from students who have gone through the process.”

President Dr. Mike Hobbs addressed faculty and staff in a campus-wide update: “Building and sustaining enrollment directly increases our ability to expand and grow the access mission for our communities throughout Northwest Georgia.”

He offered thanks to “enrollment services, the admissions team, the business office and so many others” as enrollment is moving forward on the right track.

Prospective students are invited on campus to learn more about GHC and are encouraged to discover ways the college can assist them in reaching their educational and career goals by visiting