Lanier Technical College’s 55-year history of advocating for technical education has paid off.
The college set an enrollment record for the fall 2019 semester, bringing in 4,613 students.
Ray Perren, president of Lanier Tech, said this amount surpasses the college’s old attendance record of 4,432 from September 2010, during the height of the Great Recession.
“Typically technical education enrollment increases when the economy is bad,” Perren said. “To have a very strong economy and strong enrollment, it’s a huge indication about the value people are placing on technical education.”
Nearly 2,700 new students came to Lanier Tech’s five campuses during the start of the fall semester on Aug. 19. This number was added to the over 1,900 returning students.
The college’s 2018 fall semester had a student attendance of 4,051.
To accomodate this boost in enrollment, Perren said the college has “expanded general education offerings fairly significantly.” This includes additional adjunct and full-time instructors, courses and programs.
The growing student population at Lanier Tech plays a key role in strengthening the area’s future workforce, Perren said.
“One of the primary needs is a trained workforce,” Perren said. “Having this sort of enrollment helps us assure that we can continue to be a provider of a workforce for years to come.”
He attributes the college’s enrollment growth to local supporters, dual enrollment and the new campuses changing people’s understanding of technical education.
“So many business leaders and community leaders are advocating for the importance of what we do at Lanier Tech,” he said. “They’re helping us with this perception that technical education is a viable option for many of our residents.”
In addition to individual community leaders, Perren said Hall County and Gainesville City Schools continue to push the importance of education on the college’s behalf.
“A good portion of our enrollment growth is due to dual enrollment,” Perren said. “All ten of the K-12 schools systems, including both Hall County and Gainesville City, are tremendous partners with us in advancing technical education.”