GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) Grambling State University starts the spring 2017 semester with a big jump in enrollment, a whopping 4,596 students, a 5.7 percent increase over the spring 2016 enrollment of 4,349.
“We have a great institution, and a good story to tell, and more people are learning about what we have to offer and signing up,” said GSU President Rick Gallot, who started August 1. “We’re aiming to hit 6,000 again, and I know we can do it.”
The news comes as more than 600 middle and high school students visit the GSU campus as a part of a Future Business Leaders of America annual district conference, a prime opportunity to showcase the institution as a strong, viable college option.
“We’re happy to host so many bright, smart and talented students,” said Ellen Smiley, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.
"They are excited to see our campus, and we’re excited about having them visit. This incredible enrollment news comes at a wonderful time as we help them take care of their conference business and tell GSU’s story.”
The conference includes opening and closing sessions open to the public at 7:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center on the GSU campus.
GSU’s spring enrollment includes 3,557 undergraduate students and 1039 graduate students. Wade said fall enrollment is usually more important because most new and transfer students enter the university system at that time of year, though spring enrollment is critical because the university works had to retain students and recruit and admit new and transfer students, especially because GSU has a winter commencement. GSU had 316 students graduate in December. Wade said he’s confident the school can come closer to 5,000 students by fall.
“We’ve increased our effort to market in Louisiana and in GSU stronghold states such as Texas, California and
Illinois while also leveraging the national exposure that our HBCU national championship football team has experienced during its phenomenal run to the championship,” said Damon Wade, GSU vice president for institutional effectiveness and enrollment management.
He noted that Grambling State has had two percent increases in spring enrollment each year since 2014.
Smiley added another reason: “People are excited about our new president.”