VSU Enrollment on the Rise

| November 14, 2016

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VALDOSTA — Committed to recruiting, retaining, and graduating a quality, diverse student population prepared to lead a global society, Valdosta State University welcomed 11,375 students during the Fall 2016 Semester.

This represents a 0.6 percent increase compared to one year ago, with 70.4 percent of students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree full time.

“VSU has rebounded this year with respect to enrollment, and I wholeheartedly support the growth of the entire institution as we work to continue the Blazer Nation tradition of academic, creative, research, athletic, and service excellence on campus, in the community, and around the world,” shared Dr. Kelli R. Brown, interim president. “VSU remains forever dedicated to providing a diverse student population with an inspired education, a safe learning environment, a nurturing community, and a wealth of experience that will help mold them into lifelong learners able to meet the needs and demands of an ever-changing world.”

Offering programs in nursing, athletic training, dental hygiene, exercise physiology, and nutritional science, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences experienced a 13 percent overall increase in enrollment from the Fall 2015 Semester to the Fall 2016 Semester. Its Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training, cooperative Associate of Applied Science in dental hygiene with Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, and Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology proved to be the college’s most popular majors.

The Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration — with its programs in accounting, economics, finance, healthcare administration, international business, management, and marketing — boasted a 12 percent increase in enrollment. Its Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Business Administration in management, Bachelor of Business Administration in healthcare administration, Bachelor of Business Administration in finance, Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting, and Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing experienced the most growth.

“When I started here on June 1, 2015, I was tasked with creating and implementing a strategic recruiting plan,” said Tee Mitchell, executive director of Enrollment Services. “The strategic recruiting plan is a process or activity that influences the size, shape, and characteristics of a student body by directing institutional efforts in marketing, recruitment, and admissions, as well as pricing and financial aid. The purpose of this plan is to provide a systematic framework to facilitate strategic enrollment management at Valdosta State University.

“The plan contains enrollment history over the past five years, information that will help us as a university to understand the importance of recruitment and retention from a campus-wide perspective, and strategies for target attainment. The plan is designed with the idea that enrollment management is a team effort, involving not only admissions personnel in enrollment efforts, but also the entire Valdosta State University community. It is founded with the core belief that student success is at the heart of our mission. The strategic recruiting plan includes goals, strategies, activities, responsibilities, and timetable.”

The Fall 2016 Semester enrollment figures are early proof that initiatives implemented during the 2015-2016 academic year are beginning to take effect.

At the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, VSU kicked off a bold branding campaign to cover more marketing ground and ensure families across the country have an opportunity to discover the VSUYou experience, which includes the extensive academic, cultural, and social opportunities of a major university; the small classes and close, personal attention of smaller institutions; and unlimited possibilities.

“As of Thursday morning, we are up 15 percent in applications for the Fall 2017 Semester compared to the Fall 2016 Semester,” Mitchell added. “We are also up 34 percent in accepted applications.”

Also, at the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, VSU announced the formation of the 15-member 70/80 Task Force on Retention. This group is charged with progressively increasing the university’s overall retention rate to 80 percent or higher by clearly defining the academic, social, and financial factors that contribute to a better educational experience for all students, from the moment they apply for admission to graduation.

“My primary focus this year has been on enhancing student success and supporting ongoing efforts to make this university a great place to live and learn,” Brown said. “Through the efforts of the 70/80 Task Force and others in units throughout the university, we have started implementing new and proven strategies to ensure all of VSU’s students have what they need to be successful from acceptance to commencement to their first job and beyond.”

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