Local News

NCCU celebrates centennial with record enrollment

Posted September 9, 2009 5:36 p.m. EDT
Updated September 9, 2009 6:45 p.m. EDT

— With North Carolina Central University's largest-ever freshman class on campus, overall enrollment at the university is up by about 30 percent this fall for its centennial year.

"If I go to the cafeteria, those types of things or whatever, it's a little bit more crowded than in the past," senior Alexander Jackson said.

N.C. Central has 1,347 first-year students this fall, compared with 1,035 a year ago. Overall,the university has about 1,400 more students on campus for the 2009-10 school year, with total enrollment of 8,501.

Freshman Chase Rivers came to the school from Philadelphia.

"I like classes so far. (I'm) doing pretty good," Rivers said. "(The school has) good instructors, good teachers, people that are willing to help whenever you need it."

At least 400 of the new students transferred to N.C. Central from other colleges, officials said.

"I think the interest could come from the economy as well as just some new initiatives at NCCU," said Sharon Oliver, vice chancellor for enrollment services.

Tuition and fees for North Carolina residents at N.C. Central are about $1,500 less than at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

"With the recession, the change in the economy, people are looking for ways to save money and still get a lot of value out of their money," Jackson said.

Even with the tight economy, UNC-Chapel Hill officials said enrollment is up about 3 percent, and N.C. State officials said enrollment also is up on their campus. Two private schools, Meredith College and Peace College, both reported record enrollment.

The additional students at N.C. Central forced campus officials to book hotel rooms for many upperclassmen because there wasn't enough on-campus housing.

Oliver said, however, that larger enrollments don't translate into larger classes.

"We actually added more sections (to popular classes)," she said. "The class sizes are relatively the same, but we just opened up more classes."

The university hopes to boost its enrollment even more next year, she said, and add 1,500 new students.

"It's just a good opportunity to show what North Carolina Central has to offer," Jackson said.