The College of Coastal Georgia was abuzz with activity at both the Brunswick campus and Camden Center for the first day of classes on Aug. 15. Amongst returning students and faculty, the College saw an increase of over 30 percent in new freshmen enrollment, and for the first time in the College’s history, 51 percent of freshmen are from outside the local area.

“We have been working very hard over the last year, spreading the word that ‘College is better by the beach.’ Students took note, and we are happy to welcome so many of them to our community,” said Dr. Jason Umfress, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

The pandemic greatly impacted enrollment at colleges and universities across the nation. With more students and their families feeling comfortable returning to campus, the College community is excited to see the campus population growing. This fall’s freshman class exceeds the five-year average prior to the pandemic by almost five percent. There’s also been a 24 percent increase among returning students who’ve come back after some time. Re-enrolled students, combined with students who already earned a bachelor’s, and those taking classes but not seeking a degree, have all increased.

“I am especially proud of the work the College has done to make it easier than ever to return to college,” Umfress said. “From expanding our Coastal Online offerings, to developing special pathways with community partners, we are working hard to help students reach their goal and complete their degree.”

Housing has also seen a jump at the College. For this year, in total, 640 students are living in residence halls—reaching full capacity. To accommodate students, some were placed into expanded spaces on campus, and Coastal Place Apartments, the College’s off-campus residence, is being fully utilized.

For College President Michelle Johnston, the first few weeks have been an amazing time welcoming new students.

 “Our entire new student population is strong, and the size of our freshman class has exceeded where we were before the pandemic,” Johnston said. “We’re building the future of the College and the community. It’s an exciting time to be a Mariner!”