Improved Retention Efforts Help Columbus State’s Enrollment Numbers

University System of Georgia Enrollment Increases for Fall 2014 Semester

ATLANTA – Fall 2014 enrollment in the University System of Georgia's 31 colleges and universities totaled 312,936 students, an increase of 1.1 percent (or 3,467 more students) over fall 2013.  This fall's modest enrollment increase reverses a two-year trend in student enrollment in the University System of Georgia.

At Columbus State University, enrollment rose by .4 percent, ticking up from 8,156 last year to 8,192 at the beginning of the 2014 school year.

The real story behind Columbus State University's enrollment trend has been the increases the university has seen in its retention numbers through data and analytics. A critical part of the overall efforts to get students to stay in school and graduate, the retention numbers at Columbus State have increased by more than 5 percent over the last three years:
2011-2012: 65.6%
2012-2013: 66.2%
2013-2014: 70.9%

This result was expected as Columbus State has put a lot of focus on retention over the last several years, beefing up the Academic Center for Excellence, adding advisers and tutors on campus, utilizing data to trigger early warnings on students having trouble, and mandating mid-term grades are logged in every course.

“Emphasis on early advising based on data analysis, work by faculty emphasizing the posting of midterm grades, working with students to find appropriate resources if needed, and emphasis on effective teaching strategies are all paying off in increased student achievement and progression toward graduation,” said Tom Hackett, CSU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby said while the system’s fall 2014 enrollment numbers were “encouraging, we still have much work ahead. We must stay focused on our Complete College Georgia initiative, continue to recruit and retain students, and fully support them through their completion of college,” Huckaby said.

The enrollment numbers were released in the System’s “Fall 2014 Semester Enrollment Report,” which breaks down enrollment by institution, class, race and ethnicity, in-state, out-of-state and international students, as well as gender and age.

“To help make college more accessible, we have expanded the ways to earn a degree, such as on-line courses and dual enrollment for high school students,” said Huckaby. “We are seeing initial signs of progress with these initiatives in the 2014 fall semester enrollment.”

Since 2009, the number of on-line courses offered by University System of Georgia institutions has increased from 1,571 to nearly 5,000.

Dual enrollment, which allows students to earn college credit while in high school, increased from 5,303 students in fall 2013 to 6,700 students in fall 2014, more than a 26 percent increase.

Meanwhile, enrollment patterns varied by the institutions of the University System of Georgia.  Eighteen institutions recorded enrollment increases, while thirteen institutions experienced declines.

The full enrollment report can be accessed at:

For more information, contact Tom Hackett at 706-507-8951 or