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State colleges add 15,000 to rolls
Gainesville State enrollment up 11 percent
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Spring enrollment numbers for the 35 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia jumped 5.8 percent over spring 2008.

The system took on nearly 15,000 more students this spring compared to last spring semester.

The spike follows an increase of 3.2 percent from spring 2007 to spring 2008, and system officials said this is part of an overall trend of rising enrollment in Georgia’s public higher education system.

Students are also taking more courses, as evidenced by an increase in the number of full-time students, which jumped 6.6 percent compared to last spring.

Gainesville State College enrollment grew 10.8 percent and North Georgia College & State University grew 3.9 percent in the past year.

“Traditionally, spring enrollment is well below fall semester, but this spring’s enrollment approached that of fall,” said Cathie Mayes Hudson, vice chancelllor for the system’s Office of Research and Policy Analysis. “And the numbers show students are becoming more serious during these tough economic times about taking heavier course loads.”

University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis Jr. said the significant enrollment growth is evidence Georgians fall back on education in hard times.

“This is proof positive of what we have been seeing and hearing anecdotally: more and more Georgians are turning to the University System in these tough times in order to get the education needed to be marketable now and in the future.”