Full-time enrollment down at West Virginia University at Parkersburg

Photo by Brett Dunlap West Virginia University at Parkersburg Executive Vice President Alice Harris informs the Board of Governors Wednesday that tuition and fees collections are down compared to last year.

PARKERSBURG — The enrollment at West Virginia University at Parkersburg is down for full-time enrollment.

West Virginia University at Parkersburg Board of Governors member Donna Smith gave an enrollment report at the board’s monthly meeting Wednesday.

The trend is due to the fact that companies across the state are hiring workers, Smith said.

“Whenever people are looking for employees there is lower enrollment in our (community college) system,” she said.

The current Fall 2018 enrollment data has 2,401 students, WVU-P President Chris Gilmer said.

Smith said the headcount was down 3 percent from last year, but said the university has a strategic plan for recruitment, including getting out to the local high schools.

“We will be working very diligently over the next 1-3 years to increase the school’s enrollment,” Board Chairman Sam Winans said.

Although the enrollment numbers are down, the university’s retention numbers are up, Smith said. “Once we get them here, we tend to keep them,” she said.

WVU-P Executive Vice President Alice Harris said tuition and fees collections are down compared to the prior year.

“We started this semester a week later,” she said. “We have a week less collection of tuition and fees.”

During the month of September, the university processes the financial aid of students.

Depending on the mix of students who are self-paid and those receiving financial aid, if there are more students getting financial aid the college gets less upfront, she said. “Once we compete that, we will have a much better idea of what those numbers will be,” Harris said.

She said she will be able to give a better picture of tuition coming in and how it will shape the school’s budget at next month’s Board of Governors meeting.

In other business, Gilmer said WVU-P will host the second national convening of the National Institutes for Historically-Underserved Students on Nov. 8-10.

A list of 34 attendees has be confirmed, including Lionel Bordeaux, the longest-serving Native American college president (of Sinte Gleska University) as well as other college presidents from across the country.

“If all goes well, this will perhaps be the most distinguished and diverse group of educational leaders ever to visit our campus and community,” Gilmer said.

He stressed that they will not be spending university funds on the think tank as the WVU Parkersburg Foundation has agreed to underwrite the costs.

All participants must volunteer their time and are not paid, but some will require deferment of travel costs, Gilmer said.

“This is a project I started two years ago in Colorado which brings together educational leaders, philanthropists, civil rights leaders, business and industry leaders and others — along with a group of talented students — to consider ways which America’s higher education system can better serve all students,” he said.

In other business:

* Gilmer announced a formal Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the university and Meredith Manor equestrian center in Wood County to allow their students to once again complete degrees at WVU-Parkersburg.

* The Frank Deem Riverhawk Classic 2018 Student Scholarship Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 29 at North Bend Golf Course. The tournament will help Ritchie and Pleasants County high school students get a head start on being able to start college at WVU-P. The cost is $200 per team and $50 per person. For more information, call 304-424-8340.

* Parkersburg PopCon will be Oct. 20 at WVU-P. It is a celebration of popular culture highlighting authors, publishers, designers and artists. It encompasses comics, gaming, sci-fi, art, fantasy, television, radio, cyber culture, music, film. Officials said there were around 800 people last year and the event continues to grow.