Mercer sets fall enrollment record; building new student housing to keep up with demand

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – New numbers from officials at Mercer University show a record setting level of enrollment for Fall 2014. 

More than 2800 undergrads are at the Macon campus. 

On a wet, dreary day at Mercer’s Macon campus, the student population along walkways heading to and from class may not appear too large. 

That’s the secret Penny Elkins thinks brings the university its charm. 

"Part of why we are so very special is that we have a very small class size," Elkins said. 

…with growing enrollment.

New numbers released on Wednesday show a record setting year for fall enrollment at the school. Elkins, who’s the Senior Vice President of Enrollment Management, says that’s a good sign.

"That tells us that more students are seeing Mercer and really wanting to come and experience what we know as the special aspects of this university," Elkins said.

As the school grows, so do the opportunities.

"The campus is more vibrant now like everywhere you go there’s people to talk to, new people to meet, there’s different programs, there’s people you’ve never seen before," Danny Wells — a student — said.

In the backdrop of it all, new lofts are sprouting up around campus to keep up with demands. University officials say they’re building new student housing by phases.

Elkins adds while growth is good, the university doesn’t want to bite off more than it can chew.

"We don’t ever want to get too large, but at the same time we are experiencing a great demand in our undergraduate program," Elkins said.

"They’re small and, the professors, you’re not a number here they actually know your name," Marley Hayes — a student — said.

Whether it’s in the classroom, student activities, or in athletics, Elkins believes growing each area carefully, will be the biggest win for the university.

Overall university enrollment at Mercer University at all of their campuses is more than 8500 students. It’s the eighth consecutive fall enrollment increase for the university.

Elkins says the plan is to get that number to about 9000 by 2018.  

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