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Gwinnett Tech continues to grow

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Gwinnett Technical College health care student Christal Lee of Monroe works on her mathematical statistics homework in a computer lab at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville recently.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Gwinnett Technical College health care student Christal Lee of Monroe works on her mathematical statistics homework in a computer lab at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville recently.

Growth at Gwinnett Technical College has continued in recent months as enrollment totals reached record levels.

Gwinnett Tech’s enrollment increase of 7.4 percent was the largest in the state for the fall term, according to figures released by the Technical College System of Georgia. That brought Gwinnett Tech to 7,180 students registered for fall classes, an all-time high, and double the number it was in fall 2000. The college also noted a 5.7 percent increase in credit hours taken, officials said in a news release on Thursday.

The spring semester, which began on Jan. 6, also appears to be keeping pace as enrollment is projected to remain at about 7,000 students.

Late last year, Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels also outlined more details about the new $24 million campus on Old Milton Parkway in North Fulton County scheduled to open in January 2016. Construction is scheduled to begin in April on the 100,000-square-foot building that will cost $6 million annually to operate, Bartels said.

“The technical college system never gets special allocation when we open new buildings, much less new campuses,” Bartels told lawmakers in an annual pre-General Assembly meeting in December.

Specific categories of students, and the ways they pay for school, also rose.

The largest spike in students came from those who are dual-enrolled taking high school and college credit simultaneously. That’s now 142 students, up 173 percent.

Students using the Hope Grant or Hope Scholarship jumped 32.6 percent in the first term after the restored 2.0 grade-point-average requirement went into effect. The Hope program is used by 37.9 percent of students.

Pell Grants were used by 48.7 percent of students, a 9.9 percent spike in the fall. And students taking classes exclusively online rose 14.5 percent to 798. There are 4,357 students who take a hybrid class, which combines online and in-class instruction, which is up 24 percent.

Veterans are also enrolling at GTC in greater numbers as the college now serves 320 veterans, an increase of 23.5 percent over the previous fall term.