Georgia Gwinnett College saw an overall decrease in student enrollment this year, but its student body did become more diverse this fall.

The college has released its 2020 fall enrollment numbers, which show a 9% decrease in student enrollment. There were a total of 11,627 students enrolled in the college in this fall, according to college officials.

At the same, the college said it saw increases in the percentages of Hispanic, Black and Asian students.

“Our student body is reflective of the demographics of Gwinnett and its neighboring counties,” GGC President Jann Joseph said. “For the seventh year in a row U.S. News and World Report recognized GGC as the most ethnically diverse college in the Southern regional college category.”

The overall enrollment decline at GGC came as enrollment in the entire University System of Georgia rose this fall, fueled by growth at research universities (2.8%), comprehensive universities (6.2%) and state universities (2.3%). Enrollment at Georgia’s state colleges collectively declined by 7%, which university system officials said earlier this month was part of a national trend.

GGC is classified as a state college by the University System of Georgia.

Meanwhile, minority students in the Hispanic, Black and Asian demographic groups now cumulatively make up about 69% of the student body at GGC, up from about 67% a year ago.

Hispanic students now make up 24.8% of GGC’s student body, an increase of 1.3 percentage points. Meanwhile, Black students make up 32.6% (up from 32.4% last year) and Asian students make up 11.2% (up from 10.9% last year).

White students, by comparison, make up 27% of the student population at the college, which is down from 28.2% a year ago.

“This rich diversity is what makes our institution unique and supports our culture of inclusion,” Joseph said.

The college is attributing the decline in overall student enrollment this fall to the COVID-19 pandemic. It made doing events, such as in-person recruitment, impossible, officials said. Joseph said the school’s enrollment is better when officials can show off the campus to prospective students and their families.

The university system’s enrollment data shows 11,054 of the students enrolled at GGC this fall are Georgia residents. Another 256 are residents of other states and 317 are from another country.

The college’s president is expecting enrollment to rise again once GGC can resume on-campus recruitment within U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, allowing officials to show off the recently remodeled Grizzly Welcome Center.

“We will remain diligent in our recruitment efforts to bring students to GGC,” Joseph said. “Our students need us to engage fully with them, whether in the classroom, as they move around campus or work online,” she said. “We can be that source of support and encouragement in the chaotic season we find ourselves in these days.”

Georgia Gwinnett College’s student body breakdown is as follows:

Asian: 1,297 or 11%

Black/African American: 3,786 or 33%

Hispanic: 2,882 or 25%

Native American: 16 or 0.1%

Pacific Islander: 23 or 0.2%

White: 3,105 or 27%

Multi-ethnic: 438 or 4%

Unknown/undeclared: 80 or 1%

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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