Columbus State University Logs Record Enrollment in Fall 2015

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The size and quality of Columbus State University’s student body keep escalating as final numbers for CSU’s fall 2015 class show CSU achieved a record enrollment this year of 8,440 students.

The fall total is about 250 students more than last fall's official figure, meaning enrollment jumped by more than 3 percent this year. CSU’s previous record enrollment was 8,307 in fall 2011. Official enrollment over the last six years was:

2015: 8,440
2014: 8,194
2013: 8,164
2012: 8,239
2011: 8,307
2010: 8,298

“To record an enrollment increase of 3 percent is incredibly impressive, and is a credit to the faculty, staff, facilities, community and programs we have here,” said Columbus State University President Chris Markwood. “It’s particularly notable since enrollment at colleges and universities around the country is largely stagnant and actually falling in some cases.”

Graduate enrollment and an increase in overall retention rates seem to be significant factors in the overall enrollment increase. Enrollment in CSU’s graduate programs grew from 1,315 last year to 1,503 in 2015. The university’s retention rate rose again in 2015 to 71.37 percent, up from 70.16 percent last year.

“It’s nice to see our retention efforts paying off,” said Tom Hackett, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are using analytics to spot trends and identify students who might be in trouble, and we have assembled a great team of advisors and faculty members who are making sure students know that their success is our first priority.”

Also contributing to the overall increase is enrollment from areas outside of Columbus. Enrollment from Atlanta area counties was up by more than 9 percent, from 1,409 students in 2014 to 1,542 this year, while enrollment from other Georgia counties (other than those in the Atlanta area and in and around Columbus) grew by more than 12 percent from 1,384 students to 1,555.

Other details on this year’s class:

-- The average high school GPA of incoming freshman students has increased from 3.07 to 3.12.
-- Columbus State University now has at least one student from every county in Georgia.
-- CSU has 1,402 students this year who are from states other than Georgia.
-- Area high school students who are dually enrolled in CSU classes went up by 23.6 percent, from 123 to 152 students.
-- International enrollment continues to increase; 122 students this year are from other countries (up from 116 last year).
-- The number of entering first-year students increased from 931 to 1,020, a jump of almost 10 percent.

The overall 3 percent enrollment jump is the largest increase the university has recorded since 2008 and is a dramatic turnaround from the decrease of about 1 percent that was recorded from 2011 to 2012, when most institutions in Georgia saw a drop in enrollment.

“Obviously our message is getting out to high-achieving students around the state that Columbus State University is not only an attractive option, but often a first choice for college students,” Markwood said. “Our tuition is affordable. The quality of our academic programs is on par with many universities. We have great student activities and programming, and we are located in a vibrant, exciting city that’s an easy drive to Atlanta, the north Georgia mountains and the Florida beaches.”