West Virginia State University admitted more students leading up to this year, including a large jump in out-of-state admissions, and the results are showing up in the school’s enrollment, members of the WVSU Board of Governors were told Thursday.
This year, WVSU admitted 224 more in-state students — about 28 percent more than last year — and 1,756 out-of-state students — a jump of more than 300 percent.
Not every student WVSU admits chooses to attend the school, but 10 days after the start of the fall semester, WVSU reported a headcount enrollment of 3,483 students, an 8.2 percent increase from last year. Of those students, 436 are first-time freshmen.
The freshman class is made up of 313 in-state students, a 4 percent increase from last year, and 123 out-of-state students, a 52 percent increase from last year, according to Amanda Anderson, interim vice president of enrollment management and student affairs.
“We really have emphasized quick turnaround in the decision process,” Anderson said. “We knew as soon as we got information from students, we wanted to get an admissions decision out to them in a timely manner.”
The school also shortened its application last fall, eliminating extraneous questions that Anderson said didn’t help the school make a decision about admitting a student. Anderson also said the school tried to have a more visible presence in the community and have more recruitment specialists at events in local high schools.
WVSU was the only four-year public college in West Virginia to increase its headcount enrollment from 2011 to 2015, with the lion’s share of that coming in 2015, when the school saw a 13.1 percent increase in its headcount enrollment, according to data from the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission.
Official headcount enrollment numbers won’t be released by the HEPC until October. The commission’s spokeswoman, Jessica Kennedy, said it takes a while for the official data to come out because the state wants to make sure that the data accurately represent how many students are physically on campus and attending classes.
Besides an increase in enrollment, Ann Brothers Smith, chairwoman of the WVSU board, said more alumni are donating to the school.
Smith said that, from July 1 to Thursday, the school had received about $145,000 in donations from alumni. That total is down slightly from last year, but the number of alumni who donated jumped from 174 to 269.
Also, the rate of alumni donating to the school went up from 3 percent in 2014 to 4 percent this year. The national average is 8 percent, Smith said.
“In any given campaign, we know people pledge, but do they complete the pledge? We found last year, we were off about $80,000 in pledges, and a lot of that was due to a donor passing away. We had a discussion about, when a person passes, how do you get the heir to still donate the money. We’re working on that.”
Also Thursday, Smith asked members of the board to consider serving on an ad hoc committee to review the board’s policies and bylaws. Representatives from the HEPC had concerns with the school’s policies, according to Smith, and asked the school to revisit at least two of them.
One of those is Policy 36, which relates to alcohol on campus. Under the existing policy, all alcohol is banned from campus and its facilities, with the only exception being “special catered events in the James C. Wilson University Union and the Convocation Center at Fleming Hall.” (WVSU has scheduled a Fall Festival on its quad Sunday, where the school plans to sell wine and craft beer.)
The second, Policy 61, relates to how the school evaluates its president each year. A committee was formed Thursday to review Anthony Jenkins, the school’s 11th president, who was appointed to the job in May, when then-president Brian Hemphill left to lead Radford University.
The board will meet again on Nov. 10.
Reach Jake Jarvis at firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook.com/newsroomjake, 304-348-7939 or follow @NewsroomJake on Twitter.