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WSSU enrollment is highest since 2014

Students on campus in the walkway near C.G. O'Kelly Library
WSSU students greet each other on campus during the first day of classes on Aug. 20. 

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is reporting its highest overall enrollment since 2014, according to the university’s Office of Institutional Assessment and Research’s fall report.

Fall semester enrollment  is up 1.8 percent overall over fall 2017, with 5,190 graduate and undergraduate students.

“We are seeing positive growth that aligns closely with the university’s five-year Strategic Enrollment Management plan, which aims to increase overall enrollment to 6,000 by 2022,” said Joel Lee, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management.

Graduate and Professional Programs

A large factor in the increase is enrollment in graduate and professional programs, which increased 9.5 percent over fall 2017. This fall, WSSU reported the third highest percentage increase in graduate enrollment among University of North Carolina System institutions. This also is the largest graduate enrollment at WSSU in five years.

WSSU’s transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (t-DPT) program, which debuted in August 2017, showed the largest increase, growing from four to 32 students this fall. In addition to U.S. students, the online program – for physical therapy students who are ready to advance their careers – welcomed students this fall from Egypt, India, the Philippines and Turkey.

University efforts to increase the number of minorities in its allied health graduate programs also are paying off. The percentage of African American graduate students has increased 24 percent compared with fall 2017. African Americans now make up 42 percent of graduate and professional programs enrollment, up from 37.7 percent in 2017.

Contributing to the increase are:

  • Early assurance agreements that were signed in 2015 in WSSU’s occupational therapy and physical therapy programs that provide guarantee access to qualified WSSU undergraduates.
  • A $2.4 million federal grant that provides scholarship funding for African American and low-income students in STEM and allied health graduate programs.
  • Faculty commitment to minority student retention through support and tutorial programs.
Overall Enrollment

Another factor this fall is the opening of H. Douglas Covington Hall. The new freshman living/learning community accommodates 291 students, helping to open up additional space for upperclassmen and on-campus transfer students.

This fall, there was a 60 percent increase in the percentage of transfer students living on campus.

Fall enrollment: 

  • First-time freshmen: 933, the third consecutive year that first-time freshman enrollment has exceeded 900 students.
  • Transfer students: 448, a 1.1 percent increase over fall 2017.
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 4,741
  • Graduate enrollment: 449

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

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