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Posted: Sunday, December 19th 2010 at 7:30am

Ga. tech schools among fastest-growing 2-year colleges

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Steve Dougherty
ATLANTA - Fifteen technical colleges in Georgia are among the fastest-growing two-year schools in the country, according to Community College Week Magazine.

The number includes four in north Georgia: Lanier Tech, North Georgia Tech, Athens Tech and Gwinnett Technical College.

Enrollment at the 26 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) has grown at a record pace over the last couple of years with the addition of tens of thousands of out-of-work and under-employed Georgians who are looking to learn new skills and retool for in-demand careers in today's highly competitive job market.

"The exponential growth we have seen here at the college these last few years has been great," noted North Georgia Tech President Steve Dougherty, whose institution placed fourth on the list, leading all Georgia schools included. "I have to give the credit to our outstanding faculty and staff who have done a great job during tough times, and they always focus first on our students."

Community College Week Magazine, in its November 29, 2010 issue, used U.S. Department of Education data to analyze enrollment increases between fall 2008 and fall 2009 at 1,058 public two-year colleges. The magazine then broke the rankings down into four categories based on institutional size.

Eight TCSG colleges ranked among the two-year colleges serving 2,500 to 4,999 students, and that was twice as many as the next state, North Carolina, which placed four colleges in the top 50. Valdosta Technical College (which is now Wiregrass Georgia Technical College) earned the honor as being the fastest-growing college in the nation among colleges with enrollments of equal size. Atlanta Technical College was third on that list, followed by North Georgia Technical College (4th), Albany Technical College (8th), Lanier Technical College (15th), South Georgia Technical College (18th), Middle Georgia Technical College (23rd) and DeKalb Technical College (47th).

There were also five TCSG colleges that were ranked on the list of the 50 fastest-growing two-year colleges with enrollments of between 5,000 and 9,999 students. Athens Technical College was number eight, followed by Central Georgia Technical College (9th), Griffin Technical College, which is now Southern Crescent Technical College (10th), Gwinnett Technical College (11th) and Savannah Technical College (22nd).

Among colleges with enrollments of less than 2,500 students, the TCSG's Sandersville Technical College was ranked as the sixteenth fastest-growing two-year college, and Ogeechee Technical College was twenty-third.

"It's a strong statement that more than half of Georgia's technical colleges were ranked among the nation's fastest growing public two-year colleges," TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson said. "It reflects the increasingly important role that the TCSG has in the futures of nearly 200,000 Georgians who will attend our colleges this year and the many more who will follow. Our TCSG colleges are devoted to ensuring that their graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge that will make them a vital part of our state's 21st Century workforce."

Jackson added that cost and quality are reasons why the demand for a TCSG education should remain strong. "The TCSG colleges will continue to grow and serve record numbers of students of every age, all taking advantage of affordable TCSG tuition, easy access to our campuses and great instructors who open the doors to a vast array of programs and world-class training. It's college that works."

To access the Community College Week Magazine rankings online, go to http://www.ccweek.com/news/articlefiles/2198-CCW112910-AllPages3.pdf



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