CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For the first time in years, enrollment at many of the state's public four-year higher education institutions -- including West Virginia University and Marshall University -- is declining.
Meanwhile, enrollment at some of the state's private schools is on the rise. The University of Charleston and West Virginia Wesleyan College are two examples.
Nationally, college enrollment fell this year for the first time since 2006, according to Census Bureau data released last week.
Total enrollment in West Virginia, including public four-year universities and two-year community and technical colleges, decreased by nearly 3 percent from spring 2012 to 2013, according to state Higher Education Policy Commission data.
In addition, preliminary data from individual schools for the current semester shows those numbers are continuing to decrease.
At WVU, about 200 fewer students are attending this semester than those who were enrolled last fall -- a decrease of 0.8 percent.
That's to be expected, said Brenda Thompson, associate vice president for enrollment management and services at WVU.
The university has been intentionally trying to reduce the size of its freshman class as Morgantown becomes more and more populated.
"It causes a lot of stress and strain on the institution, as far as trying to make sure we have efficient courses. Last year and the year before, we had to cut off housing to students, and we never like to be in that position," Thompson said.
Marshall University is looking at a decrease of about 2 percent, according to Matt Turner, the university's chief of staff.
All preliminary data from universities is subject to change until more official numbers can be collected over the next few months.
Enrollment at Fairmont State University, Bluefield State College and West Liberty University also has declined since last year.
At Glenville State College, enrollment hasn't budged. More and more students have been attending the college over recent years, but now Glenville is projecting a flat enrollment, an official said.