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ECSU aims to enroll 1,700

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Darius Eure

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Early indicators shared with Elizabeth City State University officials last week show the university on pace to meet ambitious enrollment goals for next fall.

Freshmen enrollment hit a decades-long low last year with slightly more than 200 students enrolling, and total enrollment dropping to 1,350.

Robust recruitment efforts have paid off within the past year. Enrollment of new freshmen this fall reached 349, surpassing the university’s goal of 322. Now with the state’s NC Promise tuition program kicking in next fall, offering $500-per-semester tuition for North Carolina residents and $2,500 a semester for out-of-state students, ECSU officials are pursuing a bold enrollment goal of 600 freshmen and 1,700 total students for fall 2018.

The freshmen enrollment goal represents an increase from just a few weeks ago when university officials said they expected to enroll only 525 new freshmen next year.

Darious Eure, ECSU’s associate director of admissions, said in a report to the ECSU Board of Trustees that there are 19 “confirmed” admissions for fall 2018, compared with five this time last year. A confirmed admission is a student who has notified the university they plan to enroll but have not completed the enrollment process.  

The university has received 463 completed applications and admitted 188 students for next fall, compared with 234 completed applications and 118 admissions at the same point last year.

Those numbers are up despite fewer total applications being submitted. The number of total applications received so far this year is 2,258, down from 2,966 last year. Within the university’s designated 21-county service area in northeastern North Carolina, 253 completed applications have been submitted for fall 2018, 141 of those applicants have been admitted and 17 have confirmed they plan to enroll.

The number of admitted applicants represents an increase of 77.78 percent from last year at this time.

In a report to the trustees last week, Althea Riddick, interim associate vice chancellor of enrollment, recalled a statement by Chancellor Thomas Conway that growing pains would likely mean things become less comfrotable before eventually becoming more comfortable.

"I have created a lot of discomfort in enrollment management," Riddick said, explaining the discomfort stems mainly from modernizing enrollment management processes and making better use of available technology.

But it’s all part of getting ready for the 2018-19 academic year and the expected increase in enrollment under NC Promise, she said.

Riddick said faculty and alumni also need to be involved in recruiting students. A slide that was part of Riddick’s presentation emphasized the point: “We must remain All In, or we will be All Out [of students]!"

Riddick said that even though she is “concerned” about enrollment she is not “fretful” because the university is taking the steps necessary to update the enrollment process.

"If you have a plan and you work the plan there's nothing to be nervous about," Riddick said.

But it’s a lot of work, she added.

"I work every day that ends in 'Y,'" Riddick said.

Eure pointed out that most applicants for fall 2018 enrollment are from North Carolina, with many others concentrated in the greater Mid-Atlantic region.

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