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WVU Parkersburg experiences 20 percent increase in enrollment over past two years.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Virginia University at Parkersburg has experienced a 20 percent increase in enrollment over the past two years, college officials announced.
A total of 4,453 students enrolled this fall. The increase represents 216 additional students, a five percent increase in headcount, compared to last fall.
The institution’s enrollment has increased by more than 700 students since 2009.
Already the state’s largest community college, WVU Parkersburg is now the fourth largest WV public institution of higher education.
In addition to economic conditions, driving much of the increase is an influx of non-traditional-aged students who include displaced workers seeking skills and training to be competitive in the workforce, Dr. Rhonda Richards, senior vice president for academic affairs, noted.
“We have experienced dramatic increases in our technical programs, in our new Bachelor of Applied Science degree in criminal justice, and the college’s Board of Governors’ associate degree which awards credit for life and work experience,” she said.
With more non-traditional students enrolled, the average age of WVU Parkersburg students has increased from 26.5 to 27.6 years from 2009 to 2010. In 2008, the average age was 26. Non-traditional-aged students represent 56 percent of the college’s enrollment compared to 53 percent last fall.
“The affordability of our tuition makes us an attractive choice for students,” Anthony Underwood, vice president for student services, said. “With our enrollment growth, we are making a concerted effort to increase and expand opportunities for students of all ages to become more engaged in campus life.”
Also reflecting strong enrollment are the college’s baccalaureate degrees. In the past two years, the number of students pursuing WVU Parkersburg bachelor’s degrees has increased by 111 percent, Dr. Richards noted. In 2008, 331 students were enrolled in baccalaureate programs. That number has jumped to 700 students this fall.
Students are taking more classes as well. The college’s full-time equivalency ratio, a formula which calculates the equivalent number of full-time students, is up from 3047 in 2009 to 3,242 this fall. Sixty-seven percent of the college’s students are enrolled full time.
WVU Parkersburg experienced a 15 percent increase in headcount last fall with more than 500 additional students enrolled in classes. It represented the largest fall to fall increase since 1975.
WVU Parkersburg offers a blend of certificate and associate programs as well as seven baccalaureate degrees. It is the only community college in West Virginia accredited to offer bachelor programs.cd10/25/10