ABAC Begins Fall Semester with Record Number in Bachelor’s Degree Programs

August 14, 2017

A record number of students will be enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs when fall semester classes begin on Wednesday at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Those students will be able to choose from 13 bachelor’s degrees, including five new programs approved on Aug. 8 by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

“This is the largest number of bachelor’s degrees we have offered in the history of ABAC,” ABAC President David Bridges said. “It’s also the most number of students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in the history of ABAC. I think it bodes well for the future of this institution.”

Recent figures show 1,973 students are enrolled in ABAC bachelor’s degree programs as compared to 1,828 students enrolled in those programs in 2016. At its most recent meeting, the Board of Regents approved ABAC bachelor’s degrees in agribusiness, agricultural communication, history and government, rural community development, and writing and communication.

“We already have about 200 agribusiness majors,” Bridges said. “That program is off to a very strong start. I think the addition of the new degrees gives us a broad range of programs for students to choose from for their ABAC education. That includes those students who may want to go to law school or a variety of other careers through these new degrees in history and government, rural community development, and writing and communication.

“I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. The value of an ABAC education is absolutely priceless. The ABAC experience is life-changing for these students. Employers want to hire students who graduated from ABAC.”

ABAC offered only associate degrees for 75 years until 2008 when 41 students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs. Bridges said ABAC added nursing and agricultural education last year, and both of those bachelor’s degrees are going full speed ahead.

“Adding ag education to our curriculum last year is going to have a phenomenal impact on our legacy in agriculture,” Bridges said. “The more ag education teachers we have out there, the more students we will get back. I believe ag teachers have more influence on the students they teach than maybe any other teacher in high school.”

ABAC also offers bachelor’s degrees in agriculture, biology, business and economic development, environmental horticulture, natural resource management, and rural studies.

Bridges expects the overall enrollment of ABAC to be close to the 3,475 students enrolled during the 2016 fall term which included students from 154 of Georgia’s 159 counties, 21 states, and 26 countries.

“We have increased our enrollment over the previous year in three of the past four fall semesters,” Bridges said. “It will take a few weeks for the numbers to settle but we should be around the enrollment number of last year.”

Freshmen began moving into ABAC Lakeside and ABAC Place on Saturday. Bridges said both housing complexes are almost full with 1,300 students living on campus. Combined with the students who are living in the community, the start of fall semester classes grows the Tifton population by several thousand people in the space of a few days. Those students are a big reason why ABAC has a $329,844,725 annual economic impact on Tift and surrounding counties.

Fall semester classes continue through Dec. 6.
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