By Greg Gelpi
It's another semester and another record for Clayton College & State University.
Clayton State's enrollment figures are projected to break the 6,000 student mark for the first time in its 35 years and could reach 6,250, according to Associate Provost James Mackin.
It would be the first time for the university to have 6,000 students and marks the seventh consecutive semester with record enrollment. The enrollment record stands at 5,888.
As of Tuesday, the university had 5,445 students actually enrolled, but based on history and the number of applications received the university should approach 6,250 students. Mackin said there will be about 1,500 new students at the university, give or take 200 students.
"We don't have to do much in the area to attract students because of the growth," Mackin said.
The growth of metro Atlanta and the reputation of Clayton State account for the ever-increasing enrollment numbers, he said.
The Southern Crescent, Henry and Clayton counties, account for many of the students at Clayton State, Mackin said. Based on figures from last fall, about 30 percent of the students came from Clayton County and 17 percent came from Henry County. Fulton, Dekalb and Fayette counties made up another 28 percent of the students.
The university will be able to accommodate the higher enrollment figures with the addition of the University Center, which will add 20 classrooms to the campus.
"If we had not opened that, we would not be able to accommodate the students," Mackin said.
Parking isn't anticipated to be a problem, despite the additional students, said John Shiffert, university spokesman.
"We do have enough spaces for them, although it is getting a little tight," he said.
Some students may need to park near the university's Continuing Education building and Spivey Hall because of the growth, Shiffert said.
University President Tom Harden established his 7-in-7 campaign, an initiative for the university to reach the 7,000 student mark by 2007, a feat Shiffert said is well within reach.
The growth is nothing new and can be seen across the University System, said John Millsaps, a spokesman for the University System Board of Regents.
"We have seen a tremendous amount of growth in the past couple of years," Millsaps said. "There's some significant growth coming to the system."
Although it took 40 years for the system to grow from 50,000 students to 250,000 students, the system anticipates an additional 200,000 students in 12 years, he said.
School begins Aug. 23 at Clayton State. The university will have firmer enrollment figures after the start of school.