By Curt Yeomans
Fall enrollment figures released by the University System of Georgia on Wednesday show Clayton State University's student population has leveled out since the school saw a huge jump in enrollment a year ago.
The Morrow-based university has an enrollment of 6,604 students this fall, according to the university system's report. This fall's enrollment is up by 17 students, or 0.3-percent, from the fall 2009 enrollment of 6,587 pupils, the report shows. Still, it is down, just slightly, from the school's all-time enrollment record of 6,687 students set this past spring, university system records show.
University spokesman, John Shiffert, described the fluctuations as a settling down period for the university, after making a huge leap in enrollment a year ago.
"The big jump in enrollment came in the fall of '09," Shiffert said. "Pretty much, from the fall of '05, through the fall of '09, our enrollment was just over 6,000 students, and then in the fall of 09, it was 6,587, and obviously, since the fall of '09, it's been pretty steady."
Overall, enrollment in the university system's 35 institutions is up this fall, by 3.2-percent, from the fall of 2009, according to the university system's figures. There are 311,442 students enrolled in university system institutions this fall, the figures show.
"Individuals continue to seek out the opportunity that higher education uniquely offers," said University System of Georgia Chancellor, Erroll B. Davis, Jr., in a written statement. "We must bear this in mind as we continue to be challenged by budgets and shrinking state resources."
Clayton State did not share in demographic increases that the university system as a whole enjoyed, according to the figures released by the system. Across the system, Hispanic enrollment went up by 14.5 percent, or 1,847 from the fall of 2009, but that ethnic group decreased at Clayton State enough to drop it below Asians, with the Hispanic population becoming the fourth-largest ethnic group on campus.
Last fall, Hispanic students made up 4.5 percent of Clayton State's student body. This fall, they make up 3.6 percent.
African-Americans make up 61.8 percent of Clayton State's student body (the same as last fall), while Caucasians make up 24.7 percent (down from 25.4 percent a year ago, and Asians make up 4.4 percent of the student population (the same as last year), according to the university system's data.
The number of African-American and Asian students increased across the state's university system.
The data does show, however, the number of students not declaring a race or ethnicity jumped dramatically at Clayton State. Last fall, only 0.5 percent of students at Clayton State had not declared their race or ethnicity. This fall, 3 percent of students enrolled in the school have not declared their race, or ethnicity, according to university system figures.
Mark DaDonna, Clayton State's interim associate vice-president for enrollment management, could not be reached for comment.