Quantity and quality. They go hand in hand at West Virginia University. Not only did WVU enroll a record number of students this fall, but the academic credentials of the freshman class remained strong, Honors College enrollment increased, research funding went up and several academic programs were ranked nationally.
The numbers are the latest in a list of recent milestones that exemplify not just growth, but growth in excellence at the University, officials sayand are in line with a planned and managed growth strategy of 28,500 students (Morgantown campus) by 2010.
From quality academic and professional programs, to excellent student-life initiatives, to a caring faculty, WVU has the total package that todays students are looking for at a competitive price,said WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr.More students are choosing WVU , in part, because of the tremendous advances weve seen in many areas of our academic, research and public service mission.
Hardesty stressed the benefits of planned growth in partnership with Morgantown.
Growth engenders qualitybringing new jobs, talented young people, state-of-the-art facilities and countless opportunities here,he said.Growth is positive and healthyif properly managedand the strong partnerships that have been forged in this community among University and City leaders, Chamber officials and others are contributing to the quality of life in Morgantown and in our state.
For the first time in WVU s 139-year-history, enrollment topped 27,000marking the fifth consecutive record enrollment at the states flagship university. Overall, 1,064 more students enrolled at WVU s main campus this semester, bringing total enrollment to 27,115. Thats a 4.1 percent increase over the 2005 fall enrollment of 26,051. Total WVU enrollment including all campuses across the state totals 34,637a 4 percent increase from last fall.
This years class of first-time freshmen is 4,828, up 254 students, or 5.6 percent.
The freshman class includes a record number of honors students. According to Dean Keith Garbutt, some 415 first-year students are in the Honors College, compared with approximately 380 in last years class, bringing the total number of honors students to 1,642, up from 1,320 last year.
Were extremely excited that so many students are interested in the Honors College,Garbutt said.And the quality of the students is remarkable. Were seeing a higher GPA and test scores are up as well.
WVU s freshman class academic profile also remains strong with an average ACT composite score of 23.2 and an SAT combined average of 1042. Both are well above the national averages of 21.1 for the ACT and 1021 for the SAT . The average high school GPA for incoming freshmen is 3.28.
Additionally, WVU claims the highest number of PROMISE Scholars in the state, with 4,315currently enrolled. The freshman class includes 1,267 PROMISE Scholars.
Meanwhile, retention at WVU s main campus is holding steady. Nearly 81 percent of the fall 2005 freshmen returned this semester, said Brenda Thompson, assistant vice president of enrollment management. She pointed to WVU s commitment to student centeredness as one of the main reasons for a consistently high retention rate.
WVU offers a long list of academic and social programs and services that attract and retain students,Thompson said.These include free tutoring in the residence halls and academic departments; midterm reports; counseling as part of retention efforts; successful orientation programs such as Adventure West Virginia, the Resident Faculty Leader program, a Residential College, New Student Convocation, Fallfest back to school concert and weekend entertainment alternatives like WVUp All Night.
Growth in quality milestones
Along with increasing enrollment, other significant growth accomplishments include:
- In spring 2006, WVU s Rebecca McCauley was the only college student in the nation to be named both a Truman and Goldwater Scholar in the same year.
- WVU continues to recruit faculty members who are accomplished leaders in their fields. The Carnegie Foundation for the Achievement of Teaching has honored 15 WVU faculty members as West Virginia Professors of the Year since the programs inception in 1987.
- The number of degree programs now offered at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level has increased to 178.
- In the 2007 edition ofAmericas Best Colleges,U.S. News&World Reportranked WVU s rural medicine program 12th in the nation.
- WVU is ranked as one of the best undergraduate business programs, according to the 2007 edition ofAmericas Best Collegesby U.S.News&World Report.
- WVU s graduate engineering program is ranked among the best in the nation in the 2007U.S. News&World ReportsAmericas Best Colleges edition.
- -Enrollment in WVU s cutting-edge Forensic and Investigative Science program is up to nearly 500 (majors and pre-majors). Its one of just 11 programs in the country to be fully accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
- Research funding is up 16 percent from the 2005 fiscal year and the highest amount in the history of the University. Technology transfer activities have increased by 55 percent compared to the 2005 fiscal year, including 55 invention disclosures received, 11 U.S. patent applications filed, 19 license agreements negotiated and three start-up companies formed.
- Competitively-funded National Institutes of Health research at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center is on the rise. NIH grants will likely top $20.7 million in 2006a 118% increase from the $9.5 million recorded in 2001, the base year for WVU ’s Strategic Research Plan for health sciences.
- In 2005, the number of patient appointments with WVU doctors crossed the half-million mark for the first time. The 532,000 visits were an 8.9 percent increase over 2004.
- More than $700 million of facilities investments including new construction, renovations and infrastructure upgrades have been completed or are in progress. This includes Lincoln Hall, WVU s newest residential college on the Evansdale campus.
- Extension programs have expanded. Among the highlights: In 2005, West Virginia Community Educational Outreach Service members in just 23 counties volunteered 289,000 hours for community health, literacy and educational projects�€providing staff time valued at more than $5 million. Thats nearly double the $2.3 million in service donated in 2003. CEOS is a statewide network of clubs guided by the WVU Extension Service.
Other Enrollment Highlights
- The 27,115 total includes 15,626 West Virginia residents, 11,489 out-of-state residents, for a 57.6 in-state resident and 42.4 out-of-state resident percentage; seven students from U.S. territories and 1,202 international students.
- The fall enrollment includes 20,590 undergraduates, 5,105 graduate students, and 1,420 first-professional students.
- The full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment is up by 4.4 percent and now stands at 25,678.
- The number of transfer students increased by 88, or 9.8 percent, from last year for a total of 985 transfers this fall.