Enrollment and retention rates at Grambling State University continue to decline and are a cause of concern for officials. The Office of Planning & Institutional Research tracks these figures and while the figures generally fluctuate, the last two years saw a drop from approximately five to four thousand students.Registration was extended twice, and as of February 7, 4,781 students were enrolled; however, the office could not provide specific information about the enrollment, including male to female ratio, since data is still being collected and analyzed.
Last academic year there were approximately 4, 836 full time students, 55 less than the previous academic year.
The previous academic years were outlined as follows:
2008/2009 – 5, 129
2007/2008 – 5, 063
2006/2007 – 5, 016
2005/2006 – 5, 049
Although the overall decrease is small but steady, GSU officials are attempting to halt the figures before it reaches crisis proportion.
Last July, Dr. Paul Bryant was appointed vice president for Enrollment Management and Retention.
Dr. Bryant said that part of his mandate is to boost enrollment, graduation and retention rates.
Presently, GSU’s retention rate is approximately 65 percent, but within the next few years, his office is aiming to record a retention rate of 75 to 80 percent.
As part of the plan to improve graduation and retention rates a mentoring program has been planned for March 2011.
According to Dr. Bryant, students will meet with administrators across campus.
He said this will give students the opportunity to meet and ask questions to professors, who can provide them with tips for succeeding in college.
According to Dr. Bryant, there are a number of reasons why attendance is falling, and his office, located in Grambling Hall, is organizing a number of programs with successful black entrepreneurs, in an effort to motivate students here.
Dr. Bryant said some students need to challenge their energies and interest in the right direction.
“The students are not focused. They come here with the greatest of intention but over time that is lost,” Bryant said.
He believes that financial constraints have affected some students’ continuing education.
“Many students are in dire (situations). there are … food stamp tickets being distributed across this campus; however, in other cases some students have mismanaged their funds.”
He called students to work diligently and use every opportunity to boost their GPA in an effort to obtain better funding for education, since he believes that a good GPA will secure funding needed to cover college related expenses.
“Students need to create an impact and intensify and maximize their academic opportunities. get on with it and think ahead of the game.