Elizabeth City State University has experienced the highest enrollment since the fall 2013 semester. According to the fall 2021 enrollment census, released Monday, Aug. 30, total enrollment is 2,054, a 2.6 percent increase over fall 2020.
The recruitment of a freshman class with a strong academic profile, the return of continuing students, and the recruitment of graduate and transfer students are major factors accounting for the enrollment increase. This is also the fourth fall semester to offer the NC Promise Tuition program, offering in-state and out-of-state students affordable tuition.
“Thanks to NC Promise, ECSU is the most affordable public institution in North Carolina, offering a quality education at an affordable price,” Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon said. “Despite these unprecedented times, and the challenges we face during the COVID-19 pandemic, ECSU is thriving. I am excited to see the growing enthusiasm for this university, and I am grateful for the hard work of our faculty and staff.”
According to Provost Farrah J. Ward, the university has seen a marked interest in students who have had a desire to return to campus to complete their degree after distance and hybrid learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, there has been a 5 percent increase in continuing students.
“We’re excited to see our students come back to campus to continue their education,” said Provost Ward.
According to Provost Ward, there was a 40 percent increase in returning students – students who have had at least a one-semester break in enrollment.
“The significant increase in returning students is due to the heightened desire of students to return to ECSU to complete their degrees,” she said.
Over the last several years, ECSU has also focused on strengthening relationships with its community college partners through the establishment of co-admission and articulation agreements. As a result of these efforts, transfer student enrollment has remained high, with 196 students enrolling in programs at ECSU. Graduate student enrollment experienced a 7.6 percent increase over fall 2020.
Provost Ward, praised university efforts to continue building enrollment despite the challenges of the pandemic. Student retention programs, increased enrollment goals, strong enrollment management efforts, enhanced student engagement and continued support from alumni have contributed to the growth at ECSU, she said.
“ECSU’s approach to strategic enrollment has played a significant role in the increase and the team continues to work toward increased goals,” said Provost Ward. “I’m grateful for the collaborative effort which consists of representatives from various departments. Our team includes representatives from admissions, financial aid, student accounts, registrar, university studies, distance education, graduate education, academic affairs, housing and residence life, student affairs, business and finance, auxiliary services, communications and marketing, and information technology.”
In recent years, the strategic implementation of programs designed to increase the retention and persistence of students has played a significant role in ECSU’s continued growth, she said. Over the course of the last four years, recruitment of new students, process improvements, increased student engagement, a customer-friendly staff, and the support of alumni have made a big impact on enrollment.
“This is a testament to the work of our faculty and staff who recruit quality students, develop academic programs that are in demand, and provide quality instruction,” said Provost Ward.
The top five majors by enrollment for the incoming freshman class are Business Administration, Aviation Science, Psychology, Kinesiology, and Biology.