Enrollment up at Wayland systemwide

PLAINVIEW – Packed residence halls and parking lots are a visual cue that the campus of Wayland Baptist University is crawling with students. Now the numbers are in that prove it.

Enrollment is up seven percent on the Plainview campus, with 1,130 students overall, up from 1,056 in 2006. Credit hours are at 12,782 in Plainview. For the entire WBU system, which includes 13 other campuses in Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and four others in Texas, enrollment rose by 3.6 percent overall. The total for 2007 is 5,920, up 211 from the 2006 fall figure of 5,709. Credit hours mirror the increase, jumping 3.3 percent from 38,950 to 40,235.

On the home campus, which caters to a more traditional-aged student and offers on-campus housing and dining among other amenities, the growth can be attributed in part to a larger freshman class than in the recent past and an increase in transfer students, said university officials.

“The freshman class is more than 17.5 percent up from last fall, with more than 250 freshmen,” said Dr. Claude Lusk, vice president of enrollment management. “From the new student perspective, we do have the largest number living on campus that we’ve ever had before as well, an 11 percent hike from last year.”

Lusk said he really couldn’t pinpoint one reason that enrollment would spike this year but said two things were encouraging about the growth.

“We had a fairly equal representation of male and female students, increases in student athletes and in non-athletes. It really is a nice, balanced student body this year,” he said. “Increases happen for a lot of reasons, but one big reason for us is that everyone on campus has been pulling together as a group effort to make this happen.”

The growth in Plainview has meant a full house for Nancy Keith, the new housing coordinator at Wayland since the late spring. She reported 505 students in Wayland residence halls, up 51 from last fall’s total.

“I don’t have an empty room anywhere on campus,” said Keith, adding that only 40 empty beds remain campus wide. “We’re really excited about this year.”

The student population in Wayland’s apartment complexes, including the Marquis and Llano Apartments, Allison-Conkwright Hall, Goodpasture Hall and Collier Hall and several duplexes along Vernon Street, has also increased. Those facilities are traditionally reserved first for married students and those with families, though upperclassmen are often allowed to fill vacancies. Few exist in those facilities this year, Keith added.

Additional online master’s degrees and growth in the graduate programs and Virtual Campus in general accounted for some of the growth as well. While the numbers don’t reflect a Plainview campus or system record, they are close to being the highest number for a fall term.