The Union Recorder

July 19, 2013

Impact of Georgia College enrollment

Felicia Cummings
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Friday, July 19 marked the fourth orientation session for incoming freshmen to Georgia College for the upcoming fall 2013 semester. During this final orientation session of the summer, more than 800 students and parents gathered to prepare for the next chapter in their educational career. 

"This may be the last one for the summer, but we had a really good turn out," said Alissa Torchia, coordinator of new student programs at the university. According to Torchia, all four orientations during the summer brought in approximately 800 to 850 participants each time. 

College enrollment can be a major factor on how well the local economy increases in value and stability. According to a study commissioned by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, Georgia College's economic impact reached more than $203 million during fiscal year 2012. Overall, University System of Georgia institutions had a $14.1 billion impact on the economy. The 31 institutions provided more than 139,000 full and part-time jobs and $7 billion in income to employees, according to a Georgia College press release. 

“Over the past two years, the economic impact of Georgia College has grown by more than 14 percent,” said Dr. Ben Scafidi, economics professor and director of the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College. “Given the large growth in its financial impact in recent years, Georgia College appears to be the most significant economic engine in Baldwin and its surrounding counties." 

Georgia College continues to bring in quite a significant number of freshmen into its university. 

"Our enrollment numbers are right on target and may be increased by a tad in comparison to last year's," said Cathy Crawley, director of financial aid at Georgia College. Crawley states that the university tries to manage incoming freshmen numbers to stay around 1,200 to 1,300. Last year, freshmen enrollment came close to 1,300, but this fall they are looking at approximately 1,390 freshmen enrolled in the school. Similar to previous years, the three top counties in which students originate from continues to be Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. 

Incoming freshman Mike Turrentine chose Georgia College based on its class and enrollment size. 

"It's the right size for me. Schools like the University of Georgia seem too big and won't be able to give me the personal care that I'm looking for as a college student," he said. 

For his mother, Vita Turrentine, the choice was based more on the stellar requirements of the university. 

"I liked that Georgia College's SAT score requirements for acceptance is one of the highest in the state," she said. 

According to Crawley, the average acceptance SAT score last year was 1160. It was increased for prospective fall 2013 candidates to 1165. At age 16, Mike's younger sister, Katherine is also considering Georgia College.

"It's so nice here and everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I'm definitely putting this school on the top of my list when I graduate," she said. 

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