It's clear that Tracy Pellett is excited by the trend he is seeing so far this summer season.
As vice president of academic affairs for College of Coastal Georgia, Pellett keeps a close eye on the enrollment numbers at the four-year undergraduate college. So far, for the summer of 2016, he's seeing a spike in student enrollment that is encouraging. He points to the increased efforts undertaken at the college to support its student body.
"We are as popular as a snow cone in July and you can quote me on that," Pellett said. "We've got double-digit enrollment growth; that's up by around 11 percent."
All tallied, about 1,200 students have enrolled in summer school at the Brunswick campus, which Pellett cites as a 50 percent growth rate over previous years. Likely to blame, or thank, is the overall increasing popularity and name recognition of the educational institution, not just along the coast, but in the state and Southeast region as a whole. National recognition never hurts either, Pellett said.
"What's really neat is this new increase is not based on a weighted statistic," he said. "The students here are making up new pathways and are increasing in full-time status, to create this great, more rounded college campus and college environment."
Since becoming a four-year institution nearly a decade ago, complete with residence halls and a growing slate of student-centered programs, the reputation of the college has shifted. It now has gained popularity with traditional students while maintaining its grip on non-traditional students. The college has also gained attention for its caring, coastal atmosphere, Pellett said.
"We have been able to make dynamic and successful, positive changes to our school and now, we see it paying off," he said. "Our sails are full of powerful, positive winds."
It's been the ongoing stream of steady leadership that has seen that long-term plans are completed, he said.
It's likely growth at the school will continue into the fall and spring semesters, where Pellett estimated the summer enrollment figures will double, or even triple.
Online learning opportunities have also continued to open academic doorways at the college, providing off-campus learning options for a broad base of students. Scholarships provided by the school have continued to grow in size and reach as well, with $44,000 in summer scholarship money offered this year, Pellett said.
Exposing high school students to the college early is producing new students every semester, he added.
"Move on When Ready (a free, college-based learning option for high school students) has helped us highlight up and coming new students, and we're being able to offer more scholarships and grants to attract a new student base along with keeping pace with the student body we are fostering here," Pellett said. "Our future is looking bright and we are expecting more gains and more positive news from our campus in the very near future."