VALDOSTA – Less than two weeks out from the start of Fall Semester 2023, overall enrollment at Valdosta State University is trending up, which would be the school’s first increase since 2020.
“The last couple years following the pandemic have been tough for all of higher education and for VSU,” said Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, VSU president, “but we put a plan in place last year to turn things around, and thanks to the hard work of our faculty and staff, that plan is working.”
As part of that work, VSU re-tooled its admissions and advising teams, launched a new national marketing campaign, and revamped multiple degree programs to increase student interest. The university also made significant investments in its Graduate School and Online College for Career Advancement, which was launched in 2021.
Those efforts do appear to be working. Graduate School enrollment is up 22 percent in just the last year, while Online College for Career Advancement headcount is up nearly 80 percent. Within the traditional undergraduate population, which had seen the biggest decline in recent years, retention is returning to pre-pandemic levels, and this fall’s new entering class is up nearly 5 percent since this time last year.
“Every industry has changed since the pandemic, and we’ve had to change, too,” Carvajal said. “I’m really proud of the work our team has done, and it’s exciting to see it paying off.”
This time last year, Carvajal laid out plans for a multi-year effort to address higher education’s changing landscape and set VSU up for long-term success.
“We’re making the improvements needed to attract and retain traditional, online, and graduate learners,” he said. “Succeeding with all three groups is a big part of what the successful university of tomorrow will look like.”
In the year ahead, the institution will continue the work started last year. The hope is to make traditional undergraduate degree programs more career-focused, increase participation in Greek life and other on-campus experiences, and continue growing Graduate School and Online College for Career Advancement enrollments.
“We’re happy about the progress we’ve made, but we’re certainly not done,” Carvajal said. “It’s been a tough few years, but we’re thrilled about where VSU is headed.”
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