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College survey coming this week
NGCSU seeks residents' input
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Forsyth County News
North Georgia College & State University wants to know what Forsyth County residents are looking for in higher education.

An online survey produced in conjunction with Gainesville State College opens today, asking locals to weigh in on degree programs and class scheduling.

About 45,000 residents will receive postcards in the mail, inviting them to complete the survey online.

NGCSU, whose main campus is in Dahlonega, has had a local presence for years.

The college offers courses in its master’s in business administration program in a graduate center on the third floor of Cumming City Hall.

It also offers nursing and continuing education programs in the county.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said he was thrilled when the college began offering the MBA program in 2008.

City officials have been working for years to develop a permanent satellite campus, perhaps off Pilgrim Mill Road near Exit. 16 at Ga. 400.

"We have been extremely involved in trying to get higher education, and in particular North Georgia, to the area," Gravitt said.

The plan calls for three local institutions -- NGCSU, Lanier Technical College and Gainesville State College -- to work together to provide complete degree and certification programs.

Higher education in the county was a top goal identified in the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce Envision 2030 process.

James McCoy, the chamber's president and chief executive officer, said local higher education opportunities could stop the "brain drain" of talented high school graduates leaving the county for college.

A fall survey of 2,049 county high school juniors found that 56 percent had at least moderate interest in attending college in Forsyth.

"There's very little that ... does more to help ensure that we have a long-term, sustainable, vibrant economy than having a larger presence of higher education," McCoy said.

Anyone can fill out the questionnaire online.

Responses will help guide the initial degree offerings at the planned local satellite campus.

A 2001 survey of county residents found business, education and health degrees drew the most interest.

To access the survey, go online at