William Woods Enrolls Record Number of Students
|8/19/2010||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
Approximately 990 undergraduate students will attend classes at William Woods University this fall, marking the largest on-campus student body in school history. Classes begin Monday (Aug. 23).
This year William Woods welcomed 340 new students from 31 states and eight countries (Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Ireland, Taiwan and United Kingdom).
In addition to the large incoming class, retention played a major role in the larger number. Of students enrolled last fall, 76 percent returned for classes this fall. The national average retention rate for four-year private schools is 71.5 percent, with retention rates in some states dipping as low as 44.4 percent.
“We are very pleased with the number and caliber of the incoming class, but we are even happier with the retention figures,” said Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her installation as president this fall. “Both numbers speak to the value of a William Woods University education.”
Barnett was informed Tuesday that William Woods University is one of the top 100 universities in the Midwest, according to the 2011 edition of Best Colleges by U.S. News Media Group.
The overall enrollment has more than quintupled in the 20 years Barnett has been president. In 1990, before WWU added undergraduate and graduate programs for working adults, 713 students attended William Woods. Overall, WWU now enrolls 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students who take their classes in locations throughout Missouri and at sites in Arkansas.
“Each year we see an increase in not only the quantity, but the quality, of students we enroll,” Barnett added. “The continued health of the university—from both a financial and an enrollment perspective—is a strong indicator that William Woods is leading the way in higher education.”
She said the enrollment figures were particularly impressive, considering the current state of the economy and the financial aid challenges students throughout the United States are experiencing.
“I believe this validates that William Woods University remains an affordable educational option, with traditional undergraduate tuition increases below 4 percent for 14 consecutive years,” she said.
Dr. Barnett pointed out that, due to increasing enrollment, WWU has built three new residence halls in the past few years. Plans for continued expansion have propelled the university into a major fundraising campaign.
Students continue to select a professions-oriented curriculum. Top majors, both for the incoming class and the returning students (in alphabetical order) are American Sign Language interpreting, biology, business administration, elementary education and equine administration/equestrian science.
“The incoming students seem to be very focused on their professional goals,” said Sarah Munns, director of admissions. “They have put more preparation and thinking into where they want to be and what they want to do after college, and they are looking for fields that will offer them job stability. They are more outgoing, more independent, self-reliant and ready to stretch their wings.”
This fall WWU will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the creation of the school’s innovative LEAD (Leading, Educating, Achieving and Developing) program. The program provides awards to any incoming student who agrees to make a commitment to campus and community involvement through a tuition reduction of $5,000 annually for residential students, and $2,500 annually to commuter students.
LEAD is intended to encourage and reward the types of activities that make for a complete, well-rounded liberal arts background. The impact of the successful LEAD program, coupled with the popularity of the Graduate and Professional Studies program, has contributed to steady growth for William Woods University.