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WCU attracts more new students to region

By Benny Smith
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WCU welcomed one of its largest freshmen classes in school history with 1,913 students.

Western Carolina University is continuing its leadership role in making a positive impact on the region by posting strong increases in the number of new and transfer students in Cullowhee.

WCU posted a 12.5% increase of its freshman class this fall, compared to last year, according to university census numbers. Last fall, WCU had 1,701 freshman who had enrolled in classes.

“We have 1,913 new, full-time freshmen, which makes this one of the largest classes in Western’s history,” Chancellor Kelli R. Brown told her WCU Board of Trustees Friday.

WCU also had a small increase in the number of new undergraduate transfer students enrolled this fall. Last fall, WCU had 1,034 transfer students who had enrolled in classes. This fall 1,045 undergraduate transfer students enrolled.

In addition to the strong numbers of new students, WCU also continues to see strong interest from students outside of North Carolina. This fall, the number of students from out-of-state grew from 1,683 to 1,732, a 2.9% increase overall.

Friday was the university’s Census Day for classes which records the number of students officially enrolled. On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the WCU’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning released enrollment numbers. All data is preliminary and not considered final until any errors have been corrected and files have been submitted to the University of North Carolina System offices.

Despite the strong freshman numbers, the university’s overall enrollment numbers decreased slightly from fall of 2021. During the past two years WCU has experienced smaller freshman classes and just last May graduated its largest class ever. The overall enrollment of 11,637 students, compared to last fall’s enrollment of 11,887, represents a 2% decline.

WCU has been listed among the nation’s Top Public Schools, as well as Best Value, best in Social Mobility and best providers of online degree programs by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, just last month Forbes listed WCU as the 14th Top Employer in North Carolina.

“The fall semester is here, students are active and engaged, faculty and staff are busy and involved, and we are already making great strides for this to be a great semester,” Brown said. “Activities and events on campus are really starting to heat up and we are looking forward to what may be the most ‘normal’ semester in two years.”

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