The school may be seeing a slight decrease in enrollment, but GHC still has the second highest enrollment among state colleges in Georgia.
Last December, the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs released enrollment statistics for the Spring 2020 semester, based on the data available 50 days before the start of classes.
Final reports will not be out until later in the semester. According to these preliminary reports enrollment is down by 2.8 percent and credit hours are down by 5.4 percent compared to the same time last year.
This decrease continues a trend from Fall 2019, when GHC saw a 0.3 percent decrease in enrollment compared to Fall 2018. At the same time, the University System of Georgia saw an overall increase of 1.5 percent. Georgia Northwestern Technical College, which has locations near several GHC campuses, saw an enrollment increase of 15.7 percent for the same period. These numbers may seem discouraging at first glance, but school officials expressed confidence.
“We are still well ahead of the other institutions,” said Vice President of Student Affairs, Todd Jones.
GHC is still one of the leading schools in the state college sector. The only institution in this sector with higher enrollment numbers than GHC is Georgia Gwinnett College, which leads the pack with 12,831 students according to the most recent USG enrollment report. GHC comes in second with 6,168 students. Dalton State College has the third highest enrollment numbers, with 4,964 students.
GHC is also implementing new programs and policies that school officials hope will positively impact enrollment. These changes include the introduction of Mongoose, a new two-way texting program, and a new process for dealing with late admission. Students who fail to meet admissions deadlines no longer have to submit a late admission application and additional paperwork.
“We’ve been working with Academic Affairs to build a more robust late start schedule,” said Jones. “If a student comes in [late], they have enough classes to be a full time student during an eight week or ten week term, without having to delay their enrollment a whole semester.”
This availability of classes is already attracting new students, including Jordan Mullins. Mullins, an Early Childhood Education major, transferred to GHC from Kennesaw State University after a chance encounter with President Don Green.
“I was working at Starbucks and he came in and I was complaining about how I couldn’t get any of the classes I needed,” Mullins said.
After exchanging numbers with President Green, Mullins said the transfer process was easy — as was getting the classes she needed.
“I got accepted very late, so I was actually surprised that the classes were still available,” Mullins said.
Mullins is not the only Charger to enter as a transfer. Courtney Lester, also an Education major, transferred to GHC from Georgia Northwestern Technical College after realizing that her school didn’t offer a program that met her needs.
“There is more of a university-type campus [at GHC] than GNTC,” Lester said. “Here they push people more to do clubs and extracurriculars. They’re not as engaged at GNTC.”
Mullins also expressed appreciation for the on-campus Charger community.
“I just prefer Highlands because it is a smaller classroom,” she said. “So you can get that one on one connection with the teacher.”