Western Carolina University announced an enrollment milestone this week — enrollment for the fall semester topped the 10,000 mark for the first time in school history.
University officials said the record-breaking enrollment was due in large part to a 5 percentage point increase in the freshmen retention rate. The freshmen retention rate — the percentage of first-time, full-time freshman in the fall of 2012 who returned to WCU as sophomores this fall — jumped to nearly 79 percent.
Enrollment figures are up across the board, however, with increases in the numbers of first-time freshmen, undergraduate transfers, graduate students, distance education students and students taking classes at the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park, said Chancellor David Belcher.
Distance education enrollment has jumped 9 percent, from 1,747 last fall to 1,897 this year. Enrollment in WCU’s programs at Asheville’s Biltmore Park stands at 524 students this fall, up 3 percent over last year’s tally of 507.
The total number of continuing and returning students is 6,817, compared to 6,500 last year.
WCU’s first Open House of the fall semester will be Saturday, Sept. 14. Prospective students will have a chance to tour the campus, learn about the university’s wide array of academic programs, find out topics such as financial aid — and get free ticket to see WCU’s football team take on the Citadel that afternoon.
www.openhouse.wcu.edu or 828.227.7317.