The Compass Friday, Novembers, 1995 7
Enrollment blueS: ECSU officials
seel to reverse student decline
by Latisha Edwards
ECSU could lose as much as $850,000
in budget cuts by fall 1996 if the Uni
versity does not meet its enrollment
quota of 2,050.
Freshmen enrollment has been de
clining at the rate of about 15 percent
annually for the past two years. In the
fall of 1993, ECSU had 2,130 students;
by fall, 1995, enrollment had dropped
ECSU administrators extended the
official enrollment period to Sept. 28,
boosting the 1995 total to 1,951. This
still fell short of the University's state
The decline in ECSU's enrollment is
the University's nimiber one challenge,
according to ECSU's Interim Chancel
lor, Dr. Mickey Bumim.
"An $850,000 cut in ECSU's budget
would be devastating to the Univer
sity," said Bumim, who points out that
it could lead to a lack of supplies, equip
ment and possible limitations of new
"We need to get eiu'ollment to the
budgeted level no later than next fall,"
he said. "All of us have a stake in meet
ing our enrollment challenge."
Why has ECSU's enrollment fallen?
ECSU officials say the problem stems
from a combination of recruitment, re
tention and negative press coverage of
the University in local media.
A major recruitment problem cen
tered around the unavailability of
scholarship money to recruiters dur
ing the fall season, according to Erthel
Hines, admissions coordinator in 1994.
Scholarship money was not made avail
able imtil early February.
"September through February was
the heat of the recruiting season; how
ever the money was not made avail
able until February."
"By that time students have already
made up their minds about where they
want to go," Hines added.
Some scholarship money was not
available to students because state au
ditors had reduced the University's
ability to offer money that was not in
hand, according to former ECSU
chancellor. Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins.
"We were offering scholarships based
on pledges," Jenkins told The Compass
in the spring of 1995. "The auditors
reduced our ability to make offers in
money that was already in hand, be
cause not everybody who makes a
pledge actually donates money."
Hines said he believes students
should receive better advisement and
that the University should work harder
to keep students eiirolled.
"The things necessary to keep the
students are not being done," he said.
"What is being done to counsel these
students when GPAs faU?"
Hines also said negative press cover
age is a factor in ECSU's enrollment
"I've never seen a place, that is one
of the biggest employers in the city,
receive so much negative press," said
Hines, who feels the media is not as
responsive to positive news at ECSU.
Dr. White administers oath of
office to new class presidents
ECSU's officials have proudly cited
statistics indicating that the school has
one of the highest overall retention
rates in the UNC system. However, ac
cording to a retention synopsis sup
plied to Chancellor Bumim by the Cen
ter for Institutional Assessment, the re
tention of students at ECSU in com
parison to other schools in the UNC
system is "relatively insignificant."
The retention of black freshmen at
ECSU is "almost an exact match" to
other schools in the UNC system, ac
cording to Patricia Gibbs, of the ECSU
There is a significant difference in
the retention of white students in com
parison to other schools in the UNC
system, however. Out of 93 white fresh
men entering the class of 1993, only 51
returned in the fall '94.
"A significant disparity exists be
tween the percentage of white fresh
men retained at ECSU, compared with
the UNC system," wrote Gibbs. "The
percentage differential of 27.8% is sig
Gibbs is imcertain why the disparity
exists but feels more white students
may be leaving ECSU to attend "pre
dominately white institutions."
The retention of white students is
low at all the predominately black imi-
versities in the UNC system. There is a
five percent difference in the retention
rate of white freshmen at ECSU and
In an effort to meet the University's
enrollment challenge. Interim Chancel
lor Bumim has appointed Leon Rou-
son to spearhead efforts to deal with
the problem. Rouson, a former North
Carolina Central University recruiter.
he plans to take full advantage of the
Incentive Scholarship Program and
what it has to offer students.
"We have to promote our programs,
what we do, our products, and our
The state has added five additional
counties to ECSU's sixteen county In
centive Scholarship recruiting area, said
Rouson. Expanding ECSU's region will
allow admissions to recruit more stu
dents, he added.
Rouson feels the Sept. 30th High
School Visitation Day, which brought
1,300 students to campus, was a good
start in his recmiting efforts for the 96-
97 academic year. Students were given
an opportimity to see "all aspects of
college life," he said. The agenda in
cluded a departmental fair, campus
tour, mini step show, football game,
To boost enrollment Rouson has de
veloped "Project Impact," a seven point
plan with a projected goal of admitting
a "record breaking" 1,100 students into
the class of 1996. Project Impact in
cludes an honors day presentation for
high school students, a high school
math and science competition day, a
high school band day, and several other
Rouson says he is determined to con
quer any eru^ollment challenge facing
"It's do or die," he says. "We are
definitely going to do."
New class officers are (from left): Regina Davis, senior; Mick Marshall, junior;
Floyd Feyton, sophomore; and Vincent Lawson, freshman. ^
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