By: North Carolina Central University
Enrollment has increased by 5.5% at North Carolina Central University (NCCU).
As of August 25, 2023, 7,695 students are enrolled at NCCU. That is compared to 7,553 from fall 2022.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs David H. Jackson Jr., credits rebuilding the admissions team – in particular appointing Sharon Oliver, Ph.D., to lead the enrollment effort – along with efforts to increase retention through University College and an overall enrollment effort that was more organized and aggressive.
While some of the increase might be due to the COVID pandemic being under control, NCCU also saw an increase in applicants, said Oliver, who serves as interim associate vice chancellor.
Undergraduate Admissions worked with high school guidance counselors, community partners, alumni, faculty and staff on recruiting. The chancellor made time to participate in recruitment activities, including speaking with prospective students and parents and creating videos.
Enrollment also benefited from increased attention gained by the football and softball teams’ winning seasons, and the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship brought home by the NCCU Jazz Ensemble.
Jackson is also pleased that NCCU did not go over its cap – no more than one-third of enrollment – for out-of-state students.
Meanwhile, the University has raised $16.4 million. That is up from $15.1 million during the 2021-2022 school year.
“This is the most we’ve raised in the last ten years,” said Susan L. Hester, vice chancellor for institutional advancement.
The increase was partly due to university gift officers contacting more alumni, who gave generously. The majority of those alumni donated money to support scholarships, particularly to the schools or colleges that they graduated from. Among those were the School of Business, Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE), School of Education and School of Law.
It wasn’t easy. There was a decrease in staffing and Institutional Advancement onboarded new staff in the middle of its fundraising campaign.
“We were getting them accustomed to NCCU and learning the culture of NCCU while calling on donors,” Hester said.
Finally, NCCU has more students living on campus than ever before. There are now 3,235 students on campus, an increase from 3,144 students in fall 2022.
That number is not just impressive at NCCU but by any standards, said Angela Coleman, Ed.D., vice chancellor for student affairs.
“That’s about 40% of our student population that we house,” Coleman said. “Most universities are at 25 – 35%.”
Living on campus has positive benefits.
“Forty-plus years of research shows students who live on campus are more engaged,” Coleman said. “That contributes to student retention and leads to positive student experience which [results in] happy alums who give to the campus.”
Some of the housing increase is due to new residence halls that were completed during the COVID pandemic. Another factor is diversifying the housing stock on campus.
“Now our inventory is mixed,” Coleman said. “There are [fewer] community-style bathrooms. Now it is more semi-suites, suites and apartment-style [units]. We also house some graduate students and law school students. The new types of housing have attracted those populations.”
In 2022, NCCU Residential Life switched to a new housing management system called Mercury which made it easier to communicate with students, see housing availability and work with special populations such as Athletics, Cheatham-White Scholars, the African American Male Initiative and the University Honors program, etc.
The Division of Student Affairs also expanded the time period to apply for housing, opening housing applications in January rather than April.