GHC President Randy Pierce told members of the Rome Exchange Club Friday that the state allocation per full time equivalent student has dropped from $7,152 when Pierce became the college’s third president in 2001 to $2,913 for FY 2012.
“That’s had a tremendous impact on the delivery of quality educational services,” Pierce told the civic club. “We’re still very affordable.”
It now costs a full-time student close to $2,900 per year to attend Georgia Highlands College.
Enrollment on the five campuses of GHC, in Rome, Cartersville, Kennesaw, Dallas and Douglasville, was up five percent this fall, to approximately 5,500 students, more than double the number that were enrolled when Pierce took the reins of the college in June of 2001.
He said that when the school received the “state college” designation it meant that the school would begin offering a limited number of baccalaureate degrees based on community needs. The first four-year program at GHC will offer a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree.
Pierce said the school will hold special ceremonies on Sept. 29 to celebrate the college surpassing its Legacy Campaign fundraising goal of $5.6 million and the dedication of Heritage Hall in the memory of the late James D. Maddox.
Maddox was one of the driving forces behind the decision to put a two-year unit of the University System of Georgia in Rome 40 years ago.
Rebecca Maddox is currently the interim director of GHC’s nursing program based at Heritage Hall, 415 E. Third Ave., which will be renamed in honor of her father.
Pierce said the school’s new intercollegiate athletics program will begin in the winter of 2012-13 with men and women’s basketball programs. “We will be offering full scholarships,” Pierce told the Exchange group.
As the athletic program grows, Pierce said, he hopes to be able to distribute those programs across the college’s other campuses, but said the bulk are likely to be centered in Rome or Cartersville. The GHC gymnasium on its main campus on U.S. 27 south of Rome, long a host for the Rome News-Tribune Christmas tournament, will get some renovations before it begins hosting intercollegiate events on a regular basis a year from now.