Enrollment up at UGA extended campuses despite major cuts

LAWRENCEVILLE - The elimination of undergraduate programs at the University of Georgia's Gwinnett campus caused enrollment this fall to drop 34 percent, officials said.

However, enrollment at UGA and its extended campuses topped 34,000 this fall for the first time ever. The university's enrollment of 34,180 is higher than the previous record of 33,959 students set in 2006.

UGA's Gwinnett campus has 513 students, 510 of whom are enrolled in graduate courses, a news release states. The three undergraduates are still coded for enrollment purposes at Gwinnett but are attending classes in Athens. UGA phased out its undergraduate programs when Georgia Gwinnett College opened in Lawrenceville.

The total enrollment includes 33,078 students on UGA's main campus in Athens, an increase of 1 percent from last year, and 938 students at the extended campuses in Gwinnett, Tifton, Griffin and Buckhead in Atlanta, a 6.2 percent increase from last fall. An additional 164 students are enrolled in independent study.

The biggest increases at the extended campuses are at Buckhead, where 271 students are enrolled, and Griffin, where 106 students attend classes. The Buckhead campus is mainly for working professionals and enrolls only students studying for a master's degree in business administration.

Robert Boehmer, associate provost for institutional effectiveness, said the extended campuses are a crucial factor in UGA's efforts to promote economic growth in Georgia.

"In response to the state's growing needs for work force development and access to higher education, UGA has dramatically expanded its degree programs in Buckhead, Griffin, Gwinnett and Tifton," Boehmer said. "This effort will continue as UGA seeks to identify and implement additional degree programs uniquely suited to the needs of these key locations. UGA's strong commitment to serving the needs of the entire state is well demonstrated by these efforts."