UVA-Wise sees record enrollment for fall semester

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Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 4:37 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT
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WISE, Va. (WYMT) - A record number of new students have enrolled for classes at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

The college welcomed 398 freshman students and 114 transfer students. Administrators said more students from surrounding states have arrived as well.

”So, I’ve been here for 10 years, and we knew that the demographics in Southwest Virginia were declining, and we needed to do something to reach students,” said UVA-Wise Chancellor Donna Henry. “So, about five years ago, we petitioned the commonwealth to be able to recruit students from the Appalachian region.”

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UVA-Wise administrators decided to take out some admission fees, including the application fee and deposit, and offer automatic applications through a website.

“For our students, many of them have need, and they would have to apply for a waiver, and then we would waive those fees anyway. So, we just thought it’d be better to remove those fees,” said Donna Henry.

Not only are there more newcomers, but the college is having success retaining students.

“Overall enrollment is up about 15% from last year. So, we’ve also seen that we’re retaining students better. So, students who were here last fall are staying to finish their degrees,” said Donna Henry.

As a result, more students are strolling the walkways, increasing campus engagement.

“I’d be the only person walking to class, but now, you see, I see hundreds and hundreds of people going from class to class,” said UVA-Wise Student Government Association President Logan Smith.

Administrators said they are looking to expand housing options to meet their new levels of enrollment.