Enrollments drop at WVU-P

Photo by Brett Dunlap West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Fletcher Lamkin awards certificates of appreciation to Autumn Henthorn and Tori Powell.

PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s enrollments for the fall semester are down compared to last year, officials said Wednesday at the monthly Board of Governors meeting.

For the last couple of months, the university was tracking to have increased enrollment numbers over last year.

Around 10 days to the start of classes in August, the university was up 2.4 percent in enrollments over this time last year, said board member Donna Smith.

However, the number dropped recently due to a couple of factors.

”Our total headcount, compared to last fall, was down 3.8 percent,” Smith said.

Smith said one reason was the university’s new policy of paying before attending classes which was initiated last spring. In the past, students were able to start attending classes before payments were finalized.

At the beginning of this year, the university implemented a plan where tuition payments were made before students began attending classes.

”That brought us down a couple of percentage points,” she said. ”Many students are still getting used to that after the spring.”

Another factor for the downturn was students having trouble getting the financial aid documents filled out on time and correctly which prevented some people from being able to start the school year on time.

”Students were not getting it done,” Smith said. ”That was a sticking point for our students.”

Officials said that is not an “apples to apples” comparison because the policy was not in place last fall so they had more students starting. Although it appears the numbers are down, revenues are up this year compared to last year as more students have paid, officials added.

Smith said the university’s One Stop Shop will now offer students additional help in getting these forms filled out in a more timely manner.

”When they come in to register and find out about school … their counselor will actually sit with them and make sure they complete the application,” she said. ”We are going to try to take that roadblock out of the way.”

In other business:

• Dale Hartley has resigned from his position as the Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences Division chair to return to Georgia for a job that will be closer to his family. Tori Jackson will be taking over his position as well as directing the Center for Teaching Excellence to help instructors do their best in the classroom. As a result, Jackson will be stepping down from her position on the university’s Board of Governors.

• Officials acknowledged two peer coaches from the Center For Student Services: Tori Powell, a Business Technology student, and Autumn Henthorn, a Business Administration student, who are assigned to the university’s enrollment outreach program. The two completed 4,518 telephone calls to potential and current students in the five-month period preceding the Fall 2017 semester.

”These exemplary student employees contacted students for a range of purposes, including encouraging application and reenrollment, addressing outstanding bills and helping the college conduct research on why potential students did not maintain their enrollment,” WVU-P President Fletcher Lamkin said.

• The university will be hosting a Career Fair on Oct. 11. The college has 40 businesses signed up to participate. They are expecting 60 or more local businesses to participate. The event is being co-sponsored with the university by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

”This event provides a means for students to conduct company research, explore numerous career opportunities, make personal contacts that can lead to a job, gather information from potential employers, find out what employers value in their employees, and demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively,” Lamkin said.