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WVU enrollment hits new high

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Half of the state's four-year public institutions saw increases in enrollment this year, including West Virginia University, which hit record numbers with more than 29,700 students attending the Morgantown campus.

This year's WVU freshman class tied with the largest freshman class in WVU history, which was about 5,000 students in 2008. The university is also seeing significant increases in international students.

"We are pleased to be building a more diverse and international study body, as that enhances everything we do as a university," said WVU President Jim Clements in a prepared statement. "To keep quality as a priority, we are raising private dollars, adding new faculty lines, investing in new facilities, developing new degree programs, and creating more student support structures."

Bluefield State College, Concord University, Glenville State College, West Liberty University and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine also saw slight increases in enrollment.

Meanwhile, the WVU Institute of Technology lost nearly 20 percent of its total enrollment this year, with about 200 fewer students attending the school than in 2011.

Adrienne King, spokeswoman for WVU Tech, said the drop in students is a result of the school's public efforts to solve its financial problems, in addition to the recent loss of its football program.

The WVU Tech Revitalization Committee was assembled last year after legislation that recommended the school create a plan of action to overcome issues such as a $5-million-budget deficit and plummeting enrollment numbers.

"Between the loss of the football program and some misunderstandings about our revitalization plan, our numbers are certainly hurting. But we are optimistic about turning the corner, and overall we are pretty pleased with the class we brought in," King said. "We will continue to try to recruit excellent students for our excellent academic programs, and we are very optimistic about the number of inquiries we're seeing."

Tech's freshman class this year was bigger than last year's, and the average GPA and SAT scores for incoming students have increased, King said.

Marshall University enrollment dropped by about 330 students with a 2.4 percent decrease in enrollment.

West Virginia State University saw a 6.5 percent decrease in enrollment, and Fairmont saw a 3.6 percent decrease.

Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.


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