Each year, VWU releases a fact sheet outlining the student characteristics for the academic year, with the information collected from the Fall 2021 semester. The data covers enrollment, finances, majors and more.
In the Fall 2021 semester, VWU enrolled 1,324 students, with 1,062 of those being traditionally enrolled full-time students (99.2%). This is a slight drop from the total enrollment of the last academic year, which was at 1,347. This includes the 52 new transfer students into the traditional program.
According to the data, 79% of this year’s students have been labeled as “Residential,” an increase from last year’s 73%. Additionally, 59% of the students identified as female at the time of data collection.
However, the fact sheets note that the number of student accommodations from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021 dropped from 911 spaces to 858. This is due to the fact that previously, the school had included 63 off-campus housing options and 858 traditional housing options.
Communications from the university label VWU as an international institution. Its students represent eight countries outside of the United States and international students account for 1.1% of the student population.
The majority of students, roughly 72.1%, are from Virginia. Another 26.8% are out-of-state students representing 27 states across the United States.
The freshman class totaled at 341 students, a slight increase from the 323 freshman enrolled in Fall 2020. Of the Fall 2021 freshmen, 56.9% are female, 45.0% are white, 33.9% are Black and 17.3% are international or part of another minority group. These students are 88.6% residential and 67.2% are in-state students.
Unlike previous years, the university opted not to display average SAT scores for the freshman class. However, it did note that the average weighted GPA was 3.39. Heather Campbell, the vice president for Enrollment, said, “For the 2021-2022 enrollment cycle we were test optional.”
“Access to the SAT and ACT was greatly impacted due to COVID-19 therefore we couldn’t make a test score part of our admission requirements,” Campbell said.
Campbell said that for the 2021-22 school year, the biggest difference in the enrollment process “was really the ability for prospective students to visit campus. We know that the campus visit is a huge part of the college decision process and with COVID-19 we had to make adjustments.”
It has been a continuous process to find a way to reach high school students during COVID-19 and now that restrictions are eased, Campbell said. “High school visits and college fairs that we attend to meet new students are happening again but not in all areas. Therefore we have to be creative in cities and counties that aren’t offering us the chance to visit with their students in person.”
One of the most clear examples of the troubles that COVID-19 has caused in terms of admitting students was seen during the Batten Honor College competition weekends. Lindsay White, a Batten Honors College office assistant, was glad to return to in-person competitions.
“Although I was grateful we were still able to have competitions last year, it wasn’t the same,” she said. “It was incredibly difficult to navigate many different Zooms or Google Meets in one day, let alone screen fatigue from 6/7 hours online.”
Like many students, White was appreciative when COVID-19 restrictions were eased to allow for the return of in-person competitions. “The students this year felt much more enthusiastic about being on a college campus,” she said.
VWU has a total of 39 undergraduate majors and has added a third graduate program since the previous year. The current graduate programs are the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Arts in Education and the Master in Education with a concentration in teacher leadership. The Master of Arts in Education is the only program offered on-campus rather than online.
Since 2020, the top declared majors have changed slightly in their order and percentages. Currently Business is the most declared major, followed by Biology, Psychology, Criminal Justice and Sport and Recreation Management.
“VWU has rolled out numerous new programs over the last couple years to attract students and stay relevant in the marketplace,” Campbell said. “These include but aren’t limited to our joint Bachelor in Nursing program, WesBridge, Esports and the MBA in Leadership.”
Despite the changes in specific areas, the university as a whole has kept Business, Biology and Psychology as the top three declared majors. During the Fall 2021 semester, Business accounted for 14.21% of declared majors, Biology for 12.51% and Psychology for 8.72%.
By Rhian Tramontana