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Higher education enrollment continues to decline in 2022

The University System of Georgia is reporting fall enrollment at 334,459 students across the state’s 26 public colleges and universities.
Georgia Southern University’s College of Science and Mathematics (COSM)
Courtesy of Georgia Southern University College of Science and Mathematics (COSM)

The University System of Georgia (USG) is reporting a decline in enrollment for the second consecutive year. 

“The University System of Georgia faces similar challenges to undergraduate enrollment as other public systems including a booming job market and the lingering effects of the pandemic,” said USG chancellor Sonny Perdue. 

USG is composed of 26 higher education institutions. It also includes the Georgia Public Library Service, which encompasses approximately 389 facilities within the 61 library systems throughout the state. 

“The facts show USG graduates will make over $1 million more in their lifetimes thanks to their college degree. And, frankly, we need to do a better job marketing that valuable return on investment. We aim to be a lifelong learning partner that helps Georgians change their lives and grow Georgia’s skilled workforce and economy,” said Perdue. 

USG’s annual fall semester enrollment report was published on Oct. 25. It analyzes data by institution, age, gender, race and ethnicity, in-state, out-of-state and international students.

Fall semester enrollment report

The report shows 2022 fall enrollment at 334,459 across the state’s 26 public colleges and universities. 

This demographic demonstrates a slight decline in enrollment, down 6,179 students or -1.8% from 2021. This is the second consecutive year USG has reported a decline. 

However, despite declines over the past two years, USG enrollment in fall 2022 remains more than 1,000 students higher than in fall 2019. In 2020, USG saw an all-time high enrollment of 341,489 students. 

Areas of decline 

USG is reporting an overall decline of 6,179 students or -1.8%. State universities saw the largest drop with a 5.7% decline. University enrollment fell -3.7% and state colleges dropped -2.4%.

Officials suggest the declines are related to several trends, including a strong job market attracting students, financial and economic uncertainty and the effects of the pandemic. 

Compared to national statistics, USG’s numbers are on par with other states across the country. Nationally, four-year public institutions have decreased by -1.6%, and all institutions (including private institutions) decreased by -1.1%. 

Areas of growth 

USG is reporting growth in graduate enrollment in 2022, which has increased by 100 students and has seen an increase every year for the past five years. 

Within USG, institutions with enrollment growth include: 

  • The Georgia Institute of Technology (3.3%)
  • Augusta University (2.2%)
  • Gordon State College (1.4%)
  • The University of Georgia (1.2%), 
  • South Georgia State College (1.1%), 
  • Georgia Gwinnett College (0.7%)
  • Kennesaw State University (0.7%)
  • Albany State University (0.5%)
  • Dalton State College maintained flat enrollment

The report also shows an increase in Asian and Latino students, which grew 7.5% and 2.7%, respectively. 

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