Enrollment at Wayland up system-wide, graduate area growing

Release Date: October 7, 2008

PLAINVIEW – Enrollment for the fall at Wayland Baptist University is up system-wide, crossing the 6,000 mark for the first time. Total enrollment for all 13 of Wayland’s campuses is 6,031, up 2.24 percent from 2007’s total of 5,899.

              The greatest rise came in the graduate area, where enrollment rose 17.66 percent from 2007, resulting in 1,279 students. Enrollment dropped a little over one percent on the undergraduate side, with 4,752 students enrolled this term. Credit hours were up one percent, with 400,797 total hours enrolled for fall.

              On the home campus in Plainview, enrollment is down slightly at 1,237, down only 1.83 percent from last year’s 1,260 total. That drop represents a decrease in the undergraduate student population, which stands at 992, while graduate student enrollment rose 15 percent to 245.

              On Wayland’s external campuses, enrollment was up 3.37 percent overall, again with a marked increase in the graduate enrollment of 18 percent, resulting in a graduate population of 1,038 students. Undergraduate enrollment externally dropped only 4 students, with a total of 3,777 for the fall.

              The most impressive growth continues to be in the Virtual Campus, Wayland’s online program which offers several master’s degrees completely over the Internet and many sections of classes for undergraduate and graduate degrees. VC enrollment was up 17.78 percent overall, with 1,948 students, again with the majority of growth in the graduate level with 34.51 percent growth to 573 persons. The university expects the trend to continue.

              “We continue to see 20 percent growth from year to year in the Virtual Campus, and we do that without any kind of advertising, really,” said Jay Sample, director. “The strength of our program is the wisdom of the external campuses, because we really supplement what the campuses are doing in all our locations.”

              Sample said as the economy creates additional challenges, students of all ages are seeking out alternatives to the traditional educational model and Wayland’s Virtual Campus has been a good fit.

              “With the changing economy, students are looking for ways to optimize their time and reduce their expenses. Though the cost of virtual classes is a bit higher (than Wayland’s traditional external-campus tuition), there is no commute time involved,” Sample said.

              About half of the Wayland campuses experienced growth this year, while those that dropped in enrollment experienced only slight drops. Leading the pack in growth was the Fairbanks, Alaska, campus, which caters heavily to service personnel on Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright, who gained 25 students and 16.67 percent with 175 total. Wayland’s campus in Aiea, Hawaii, grew 10.85 percent with 327 total enrolled. Other enrollments on the rise were in Clovis, N.M. (8.56 percent), Sierra Vista, Ariz. (8.30 percent), San Antonio (5.66 percent), Phoenix, Ariz. (5.63 percent), and Anchorage, Alaska (1.67 percent). San Antonio enrollment topped 1,600 once more, with 1,606 this term compared to 1,520 last fall.

              Graduate degree enrollments accounted for the majority of growth on the campuses, with Sierra Vista more than doubling its numbers, registering 46 graduate students over 2007’s count of 21, a growth of 119 percent. Clovis increased graduate enrollment by 66.6 percent, adding 40 students.