“Given the current challenges and uncertainty, it is especially gratifying to see that our students and their families are prioritizing a college education,” she said.
The state’s four largest universities also reported new highs. Georgia State now has a record 54,000 students, including 5% more black freshmen. Georgia Tech accepted 4,150 new students and the University of Georgia reported 31% of new students identified as being part of a minority group.
Kennesaw State reopened to students for the fall semester Aug. 17 after closing in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The university will provide cloth masks to everyone on its two campuses and clean most areas several times a day to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Some of the KSU programs experiencing growth include the KSU Journey Honors College, which saw a 7% increase since fall 2019, and Michael J. Coles College of Business, which saw its enrollment jump by 4% from last fall. The Honors College allows qualified students to enroll in specialized courses and participate in interdisciplinary seminars, community service, undergrad research, study-abroad options and leadership activities. KSU also said its graduate programs have experienced a 13% spike in enrollment since last year.
Growth is also apparent at Kennesaw State’s Marietta Campus, the university said. Enrollment at KSU’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology program grew by 5% last year to an enrollment of more than 5,000 students. The College of Computing and Software Engineering program’s enrollment grew by 11% from a year ago, KSU said.
Despite having more students, Kennesaw State kicked off the fall semester with fewer employees. KSU said it had to lay off 24 workers due to a state mandate that the University System of Georgia reduce spending by 10.8% for fiscal year 2021.
Demel said since the Board of Regents prohibited universities from using mandatory furlough days to meet the 10% cut, the university had to “take the difficult, but necessary step” to reduce its staff positions. Demel said no faculty positions were included in the cut.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Eric Stirgus contributed to this report.