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New Student Enrollment Increases 5.2%

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More new students enrolled in college courses at Dalton State this fall as the campus fully reopened for face-to-face classes and programs again.

“New student enrollment at Dalton State increased 5.2% from last fall to this year,” said Dr. Jodi Johnson, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “We hope, and expect, to see this trend continue as we move forward through the pandemic. We know many high school graduates decided to wait to begin college during the pandemic. Now that we’re fully in person again, we hope to see more students enrolling.”

Dalton State also saw a 9% increase in the number of nontraditional students – students who are at least 24 years old – taking courses. Some of these students may have begun college previously but had to pause their education, while others may be enrolling for the first time.

“We are pleased to see these two areas of enrollment increase because we know college graduates earn more throughout their lifetime than people with a high school diploma alone,” said Dr. Margaret Venable, president of Dalton State. “Dalton State graduates who earned a bachelor’s degree earn approximately $1.2 million more over a lifetime than those with a high school diploma. Nearly two-thirds of our graduates complete their degree with no student loan debt. Dalton State remains a solid investment. We provide resources to help our students overcome financial hurdles that may stand in the way of a college education. We believe a college education should be attainable to anyone who chooses this path. Our programs are designed to fill local workforce needs so our students are ready to enter their career upon graduation.”

Also, Hispanic enrollment increased from 33.3% last fall to 34.8% this fall. Dalton State is Georgia’s first and only Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), a federal designation awarded to institutions where at least 25% of the student population identifies as Hispanic. Dalton State achieved the status in 2018, and the Hispanic enrollment continues to grow.

“Our Hispanic enrollment is a reflection of our community in Northwest Georgia,” Venable said. “We have received grants totaling several million dollars that we invest directly into our students thanks to our status as an HSI. We use those funds to benefit our entire student population. We are proud of our HSI designation and will continue to facilitate and encourage a caring, diverse campus community.”

Overall enrollment fell 5.4% from last fall to this fall.

“Last year – while providing courses on a hybrid model and programming still largely virtual – we know our students missed the connection and level of engagement our campus typically provides,” Johnson said. “College enrollment declined nationwide during the pandemic. Most students need engagement to feel connected to college. We have multiple opportunities for students to get involved and participate on campus no matter their interest, including student government, student organizations, campus activities, and service and volunteering opportunities. We also have opportunities to participate in research, internships and other hands-on learning. Our resources, such as tutoring, help students succeed in the classroom. For students facing financial hardships, we have a food pantry, an emergency fund to assist students short-term and scholarships through the Dalton State Foundation.”

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