WLU Enrollment Jumps 11 Percent

Photo Provided West Liberty University students are seen moving on to the campus at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. University officials expect an 11-percent increase in enrollment for the coming school year.

WEST LIBERTY — At the same time many colleges are losing students, West Liberty University is expecting an 11-percent increase in enrollment for the 2017-18 school year.

The university has at least 2,200 students registered for the fall semester so far, representing an increase of at least 175 students over last year’s enrollment of 2,025, according to WLU President Steven Greiner.

Across the nation, enrollment in post-secondary education decreased 1.5 percent between 2016 and 2017, and has been trending down for the past five years, according to information provided by WLU from the National Student Clearing House Research Center.

University officials said the school is bucking the national trend because of new academic opportunities on campus.

Last year, the school began offering master’s degrees in business administration, criminal justice and zoo science, and this year a master’s program in biology is available to graduate students.

Greiner said at least three more masters programs will be part of WLU’s curriculum staring in the fall of 2018. Other graduate programs include a master of arts in education, a master of arts in physician assistant students, and a master of professional studies.

The school offers 70 undergraduate majors.

All areas of academic study are growing at WLU, according to Greiner. Business education especially has become popular.

“It’s a culmination of things that are bringing students here,” he said. “What I’ve seen is a tremendous cooperation on the entire campus among staff and students. We’ve added additional programs, services and facilities, and the students are taking it to heart. … For us, it’s a pleasant trend to see a large increase in the number of students interested in the sciences. It bodes well for this region that more students are interested in the sciences.”

West Virginia’s trend of population loss is not lost on WLU officials.

“For us to be increasing in enrollment is somewhat an anomaly,” Greiner said. “It’s increasing as we add programs, but I don’t think we’ll see large increases as the population decreases. Our goal to make sure we add programs that make sense, and ones that lead to careers or future graduate programs.”

Greiner took over as WLU president in January 2016.

“This is my 43rd year in education,” said Greiner, a native of Weirton. “But I’ve never enjoyed myself in my career as I have at West Liberty. It’s totally enjoyable here.”

Classes begin at WLU’s Highlands Center on Aug. 19, and on the main campus on Aug. 21. The last day to enroll for fall semester is Aug. 30.