From the west coast to the east coast, Virginia State University (VSU) welcomed nearly 1,000 new freshmen to the Land of Troy. The Class of 2020 represents a 30 percent increase from last year’s freshman class. VSU has projected an overall enrollment increase of five percent for Fall 2016.
“It's a new year and a new season for Virginia State University,” said VSU President Makola Abdullah. “I am confident that our faculty and staff will assist the Class of 2020 and the rest of the Trojan student body succeed and transform their academic experience beyond their dreams and aspirations. We pride ourselves as a university whose role is to provide a transformative experience for our students and embrace our role as Virginia’s opportunity university."
The Class of 2020 is the first class under Abdullah’s administration.
The increase in the freshman enrollment is attributed to the dedication and hard work of the University’s Office of Enrollment Services to distinguish VSU as students’ college of choice.
“I am thrilled so many students have chosen Virginia State University this year,” said Rodney Hall, executive director of Enrollment Services. “These students were attracted to VSU’s dedication to the undergraduate learning experience and a faculty and staff dedicated to their success.”
According to Hall, in addition to the Class of 2020, VSU welcomes more than 40 new international students, which is the University’s largest group of international students ever.
“Our number of new students is quite an accomplishment in a challenging and competitive environment,” Hall said. “We can credit this to a number of new creative initiatives across the board as well as the dedication and hard work of our admissions, financial aid and other departments university-wide.”
According to the WRIC, an ABC station in Richmond, VSU Vice President for Student Success and Engagement Letizia Gambrell-Boone said: “We are targeting new markets in Florida, in Nevada, California.”
To ensure the Class of 2020 and the rest of the VSU student body is challenged academically, culturally and socially, the Division of Student Success and Engagement has implemented a weekly Lyceum series. Every week, students are exposed to speakers, activities and events designed to enrich their overall education experience. Another key component to ensure academic excellence for students is the new the Academic Center for Excellence better known as ACE. The center, which is housed in the University library, was created to serve as a one-stop shop for orientation, student success and engagement by providing academic advising and support.
Abdullah served on the faculty of the FAMU College of Engineering Sciences, Technology, and Agriculture for 15 years and was the dean of the college from 2008 through 2011. He recently appointed former FAMU Associate Provost Donald E. Palm to serve as VSU’s new provost and vice president of academic affairs.
In his 2016-2017 evaluation of FAMU President Elmira Mangum, FAMU Trustee Matt Carter pointed to the enrollment growth at VSU a reason why excuses aren’t acceptable for the continuing enrollment decline at FAMU. FAMU lost $9M+ in tuition and fees from declining enrollment last year under Mangum and could lose up to another $10.5M this year.