October 18, 2006
06-138

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations

Valdosta State University sets new enrollment record

Preliminary numbers strongly indicate a record new enrollment has been set by Valdosta State University with 10,888 students enrolled for fall semester 2006, an increase of 3.7 percent from fall semester 2005. A record number of freshmen contributed significantly to this growth. Out of the 2,059 freshmen in this year's class, 838 students (41 percent) are from the metropolitan Atlanta area. Within the Graduate School, doctoral students increased from 72 to 90 students (25 percent). VSU's final enrollment numbers will be released by the University System of Georgia later this fall.

"The attractiveness of VSU is not only well known in our region, but we are seeing an increasing interest on the part of North Georgia and Atlanta area students," said VSU President Ronald M. Zaccari, adding that 153 Georgia counties, 46 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and 63 countries are represented by students at VSU.

"VSU's enrollment is expected to surpass 12,000 students within five years," Zaccari said. "These increasing enrollment numbers reflect the growing role Valdosta State University is playing in our state and the overall economic, educational and social impact the University is having on South Georgia."

More than $200 million in new construction is expected at VSU within the next seven to ten years. On the main campus, this includes a new Student Union Building, residence halls, and parking decks. The Rea and Lillian Steele North Campus expansion includes a $43 million Health Sciences and Business Administration Center, dining facilities, and residence halls.

"We are being asked by the Board of Regents to plan for expanded growth to meet the higher education needs of our state and region," Zaccari said. "VSU's Centennial theme, 'Building for Our Next Century' embraces the University's commitment to remain focused on sound strategic planning and reinforce the importance of its $332 million annual economic impact to the region."

Zaccari said VSU's strategic planning process has intensified focus on enrollment and retention. Through the University's Enrollment Management Council, great strides have been made in recent years to improve student retention. Action steps are being developed to support the University's goal to "intentionally grow undergraduate and graduate enrollment through new students and increased retention and graduation rates of existing students."