November 12, 2008
08-186

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

VSU Announces Record Increase in Online Enrollment

VALDOSTA - For Patricia Hinton, choosing the right masters program was a matter of time and distance. A hard-working professional in rural North Florida, she sought a credible program that was also convenient, allowing her to work around personal and professional obligations at a steady pace.
"I wasn't easily sold on the online concept at first," said Hinton, who successfully completed VSU's online Master of Public Administration program in August 2008, claiming a coveted Hugh Bailey Outstanding Graduate award. "Like many, I was concerned it may lack academic substance and I would miss out on personal interactions, but I was wrong."

During fall 2008, more than 350 new students chose the convenience and flexibility of online graduate programs at VSU. This provided a 50 percent increase in online graduate program enrollment, now at 875 online graduate students - the most in VSU's history. More than 200 of these students are enrolled in the new collaborative Master of Education programs and 44 are in VSU's new Doctor of Public Administration program, which launched last fall.

Hinton was so pleased with her online MPA experience and the quality she received at VSU that she joined 24 other students in the inaugural DPA cohort in fall 2007. She also began teaching American Government and Politics and film at VSU.

"The online MPA and DPA programs have had a profound impact on my life," said Hinton, who began her career in public relations and marketing. "They led me into a new career direction. I love being in the classroom; this is where I am meant to be."

Hinton teaches alongside 610 other faculty members at VSU in small classroom settings with a 19:1 student instructor ratio. Together, they will touch the lives of 11,490 total students during fall 2008, a 1.86 percent increase from 2007 and a 30.69 percent increase from 2000. Included in the official enrollment figures from the University System of Georgia are 1,782 graduate students and 9,708 undergraduates, with 2,143 joining the student body as new freshmen.

Students enrolled for fall semester 2008 represent 156 Georgia counties, 46 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington DC and 68 countries. Lowndes, Gwinnett, and Fulton (top three) counties boasted the most VSU students - 1888 students, 616 students and 484 students respectively. A strong supporter of international studies, VSU welcomed 270 international students to campus this fall.

While Hinton and many others are benefiting from an online education at the graduate level, VSU's Distance Learning addresses the needs of both traditional and untraditional undergraduates as well. This fall 1680 students are enrolled in online classes and a growing number of VSU professors are incorporating the university's online course management system, WebCT, into traditional courses.

Call the Office of Strategic Research and Analysis at (229) 245-6517 or visit www.valdosta/edu/sra/ for more information regarding enrollment and facts about VSU. Visit www.valdosta.edu/more to see why Valdosta State has more!