As students at Potomac State College of West Virginia University settle into their fourth week of classes, reports show that for the third consecutive year enrollment is up with a total of 1,365 students, a three percent increase over last year. Comparably, residential halls are at capacity.

According to Beth Little, Director of Enrollment Services, this falls increase equates to a 13 percent increase in first-time freshmen, a stable in-state enrollment and an increase of 18 percent in out-of-state students. She also reports that there are approximately 100 PROMISE Scholars on campus this semester.

Three consecutive years of enrollment growth indicate a high degree of consumer confidence in Potomac State College and its academic offerings,said Dr. Kerry Odell, Interim President.We are pleased that our students have chosen us, and we plan to continue our mission of providing a high quality, comprehensive education in a friendly environment conducive to learning.

Again this year, the numbers reflect a nice mix of students with a diverse representation from both in-state and out-of-state. Students come from 32 counties in West Virginia with 13 states represented from across the nation including California, District of Columbia, Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. There are also several international students from Germany, Kenya and Canada.

Little agrees with Dr. Odell and believes a significant reason the College has experienced continual growth is because of the quality academic programs and the special attention faculty give to their students.Time and time again we hear testimonials from students who have continued onto other colleges and its Potomac State College that they credit for giving them their best college experience,said Little.

She also believes new scholarship opportunities for both in-state and out-of-state students, continuing renovations to the campus and referrals from West Virginia University, which is also experiencing an all-time high enrollment, have contributed to this semesters positive numbers.

The residential situation is very similar to last year in that the halls are filled beyond capacity. Again this year, the College is handling the overabundance by requesting students and resident assistants with private rooms to temporarily accept roommates.

Dean of Student Affairs Bill Letrent says,the College is committed philosophically and financially to providing students the services and facilities they deserve. Many students returned from last years freshmen class because they saw that Potomac State College is committed to enhancing student services.

Dean Letrent believes this trend will probably continue as renovations to campus include upgrades to residence halls and the Student Union. He also notes that the Academic Success Center, a department that provides tutoring, academic advice, career guidance, skills workshops, and disability services to students, is now fully operational.There are a lot of positive things happening here and students are noticing,said Dean Letrent.

The recent enrollment upswing began in fall 2001 with a 13 percent increase earning the institution the highest percentage increase in enrollment throughout the states higher education system in the 2001-2002 academic year. Then, in fall 2002, enrollment jumped another three percent bringing the total to 1,321 students, the first time enrollment had exceeded 1,300 since 1990.

As we become a fully integrated division of WVU , opportunities for enhancements to our academic programs and additional facilities to strengthen the campus experience will only get better,commented Dr. Odell.

Potomac State College is the only two-year residential, regional campus of WVU . The campus is located in Keyser, WV, and offers 47 majors for transfer to WVU or most other four-year institutions and 18 career/technical majors.