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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NCCU to welcome 1,400 freshmen this fall

N.C. Central University is expecting to welcome 1, 400 freshman this fall -- among the largest freshmen classes the school has ever had. The new class begins moving in this week, and the university apparently has enough on-campus housing space to accommodate them all.

"We have reserved enough spaces," said Kevin Rome, NCCU's vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management.

"Right now, we're at capacity, but we should be fine. The only problem would be if we have a large number of students in the next day or two who haven't already confirmed that they are coming. We don't expect that, but there's no way to predict that now."

The 1,400 first-year students would tie the record set last year as the largest entering class. Those figures are about 30 percent higher than any previous classes.

NCCU, traditionally shy of on-campus housing, had to struggle with the size of the class last year. The university ran out of on-campus options and had to house around 300 students for the first semester at the Millennium Hotel.

There are no plans to do anything similar this year, even if more students do show up this week, Rome said.

"We are no longer in the business of providing off-campus housing," he said.

"We've decided not to house any students off-campus. We will make every attempt to keep them here based on what vacancies we have. If we can't accommodate them here, if we have 20 or 30 students we didn't anticipate, we will work with the students to identify off-campus housing possibilities."

The university was able to meet its enrollment goal and keep the Class of 2014 at the record-setting number of 1,400 students despite tuition increases totaling $548 a year for undergraduates who are North Carolina residents.

"I don't think the increases have had a major impact on enrollment here," Rome said. "It is, of course, a significant increase for some students, but when you factor in financial aid, the impact is not as great as it is at, say, UNC Chapel Hill."

At the end of its session this summer, the state Legislature agreed that the additional funds brought in by tuition increases at UNC system campuses could remain with the schools and be used for financial aid.

At NCCU, around 90 percent of students receive some kind of financial aid and more than 50 percent are eligible for the need-based federal Pell Grant financial aid program.


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