N.C. Central sets enrollment goals

Sep. 25, 2013 @ 09:02 PM

Out of nearly 3,000 accepted applicants to N.C. Central’s new freshman class, only 946 enrolled this fall.

At NCCU Board of Trustees meetings held Tuesday and Wednesday, board members and Chancellor Debra Saunders-White discussed strategies to increase enrollment by fall 2014, to include refocusing university-wide marketing efforts, making strategic visits to community colleges and contacting students who never complete their applications.
“We’ve made a pledge that we’re not going to be in this place next year,” said Bernice Johnson, NCCU vice chancellor for academic affairs.
Last year, 4,472 freshmen were accepted, and 1,407 enrolled, according to university numbers. The university has the capacity to enroll 1,100 to 1,500 freshman students, Saunders-White said, without putting stress on the institution.
The SAT score admissions requirement for critical reading and math was raised by the UNC Board of Governors this fall to 800 for N.C. residents and 900 for nonresidents.
The average SAT score for the 946 students who comprise NCCU’s class of 2017 was 886.8, and those incoming students had an average GPA of 3.1.
“We are confident that we will retain these academically high-achieving students through their sophomore year,” Saunders-White said.
Due to financial hardship, about 230 students didn’t return to NCCU this year. The university is working with its Office of Institutional Advancement, the fundraising office on campus, to reach out to those students and provide support.
The dip in enrolled students is causing the university to re-evaluate its marketing efforts; NCCU is taking a look at only recruiting at colleges that produce the most applicants and enrolled students for NCCU. 
Structurally, NCCU has moved enrollment management under academic affairs and has recently hired a consultant to review the university’s enrollment management strategies, Johnson said.
The restructuring will focus on increased communication with admitted students or students who haven’t finished their applications, and NCCU wants to have its next freshman class structured by May of 2014 instead of that August.
Two task groups also have been created: The Four-Year Challenge group will look at four-year graduation and retention rates. The Transfer Imperative group will focus on bringing in more transfer students.
About 100 articulation agreements, which set up transfer credit agreements and student support services between colleges and universities, are waiting to be signed, according to the university. They also are scheduling visits to eight community colleges, and recent talks with Durham Technical Community College have involved a future, strengthened partnership, Saunders-White said.
“(Durham Tech President Bill Ingram) sends just as many students to UNC and (N.C.) State, more, than NCCU. Being intentional will help us in that regard,” she said. “We have not been intentional on that front.”
In other news, Kenneth Tindall, Joan Higginbotham, Karyn Wilkerson and NCCU Student Government Association President Stefan Weathers were sworn in as new board members. Kimberly Luse was nominated and unanimously approved to serve as the board’s assistant secretary.