Smaller Georgia colleges grapple with huge declines in enrollment

Educators believe the freefall will continue amid projections of decreasing birthrates and fewer students graduating from high school.

At a recent town hall meeting, the president of East Georgia State College told employees the school must do a better job of enrolling and retaining students.

Enrollment was down nearly 17% last fall to about 2,000 students — the sharpest decline of any public college or university in the state. The consequences of a continuing decline could include losing state funding, which faculty fear could mean job cuts. They also worry it may result in the closure of some smaller colleges.

“This truly is a game of inches,” said David Schecter, who became the college’s president in January. “One or two students at a time each day can really help us as a college.”

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