Numbers are in: WCU enrollment is up 3.4 percent over last year

CULLOWHEE – The registration rolls are closed and the numbers are in – student enrollment at Western Carolina University has hit an all-time high of 8,681 for the 2005 fall semester, a 3.4 percent increase over last fall’s enrollment of 8,396.

That’s according to census date numbers from Western’s Office of University Planning.

This fall marks the seventh consecutive year that Western’s total student enrollment has increased, said Troy Barksdale, director of university planning.

“The most dramatic increases this fall are in new undergraduate transfer students and in distance learning students,” said Barksdale. “Transfer student enrollment jumped 11.2 percent, from 654 to 727, while distance learners increased 23.9 percent, from 967 to 1,198.”

The total number of undergraduates rose slightly, from 6,785 to 6,995 (a 3.10 percent increase), and the total number of graduate students grew from 1,611 to 1,685 (a 4.6 percent increase), he said.

“The trend of enrollment growth we are continuing to see at Western is the result of an ongoing effort on the part of faculty and staff to raise standards and improve the quality of education offered by the university, as well as enhance the quality of student life outside the classroom,” said Chancellor John W. Bardo.

“From innovative academic programs to new designs for our residence halls, students seem to be embracing our efforts to better serve their needs,” Bardo said.