Area residents who want to pursue a college degree at one of the leading universities in the U.S. now have the opportunity to continue their education close to home at the Georgia State University Perimeter Newton campus.
After the merger between the two schools, the campus on Cedar Lane that was once home to Georgia Perimeter College has been home to Georgia State University.
“We are Georgia State. We are no longer a separate institution; we’re part of Georgia State, which is the largest public university in this state,” said Associate Dean Dr. Laurent Ditmann who leads the Newton campus, “It’s considered by U.S. News and World Report the fourth most innovative public university in the United States. We have earned all sorts of accolades over the past couple of years and we are part of that.
“We are a two year program. Until further notice we will remain a two year program for a number of associate’s degrees. But we are Georgia State with all that it entails. New resources, a new vision largely and ambition.”
Ditmann said GSU’s Newton campus is here to serve the community.
“We’re an access institution. We want to make sure that young people who may not have all the opportunities to go to college because of money, because of location, because of any number of things, have a place to go to take collegiate classes at a high intellectual level.”
Ditmann said classes at GSU’s Newton campus are 40 percent less expensive than classes at the downtown Atlanta campus.
“If our students here take two years to complete their associates degree and then decide to go downtown to complete their four-year degree, they have paid 40 percent less for the first two years.”
Ditmann said because the Newton campus is an access institution, the requirements are slightly different than the school’s downtown campus. He explained the concept of an access institution.
“We are open to the largest possible number of students, especially in our direct environment and our direct community. That’s the idea,” he said, “a place where everyone can be accepted into some sort of program and take classes.
“We have test scores that are a little more reasonable, I would say. But once you’re admitted, you are at GSU. So if you wanted to go downtown after two years after you have completed your associate’s degree, it’s a seamless transition.”
Beyond costs, Ditmann said the campus offers students a much more personal approach.
“This is a small campus. We have two buildings, plus the athletics facility. We have lots of instructors who live around here, who teach within their community,” he said, “We have a very dedicated and highly professional faculty. They know what to do, they know what our students need.
The personal approach, smaller classes, immediate access to the resources, and you don’t have to go downtown are just some of the reasons to consider attending GSU’s Newton campus.
“We have resources here. This is not just a satellite campus. It’s just a reduced version of the bigger one,” Ditmann said.
He said the campus has started offering simulcast classes, giving students the opportunity to be in a classroom on the Newton campus and follow a class on the school’s Alpharetta campus.
“We have the finest online program in the state of Georgia,” he said, “Our students love our online program. With online education, which is a very well supported program at Perimeter, they take all the classes they need staying in their community. And they can take face to face classes here, maybe in Decatur which is not too far, maybe in Clarkston.
“We have any number of programs designed to make sure that people who need to be in school are in school.
Ditmann said Georgia State University Perimeter Newton campus uses individual support to prepare students to walk the red carpet.
“What’s most important at Perimeter is the idea of individual support,” he said, “We have instructors who really go the extra mile because it’s a smaller campus where people really know each other.
“We deploy every resource we have to support the students and we think in terms of developing partnerships.”
Ditmann said the college wants to develop joint programs with local industries in Newton County.
“Everybody is talking about the studios. Needless to say, we’re very interested in that. But there are many other industries.
“We want to be a part. We’re here to stay, definitely, but not just as a school in the traditional sense of the term. We want to have an organic unit of the community. No more ivory tower for us.”