By Cathy Mentzer
A total of 1,098 students enrolled at Wilson College for the fall semester, the largest enrollment in the 147-year history of the liberal arts college. New students entering the traditional undergraduate college increased by more than 7 percent over fall 2015, producing the largest incoming class since 1967. This year’s enrollment marks the fourth consecutive year of growth under the Wilson Today plan.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome the largest number of students to Wilson in our history,” says Wilson President Barbara K. Mistick. “All of the planning and work by everyone associated with the college—faculty, staff, the board of trustees and alumnae—is moving us in the right direction. We’re proud that we’ve been able to continue to grow and strengthen not only the institution, but also the wider community.”
Wilson College has its largest enrollment in the traditional undergraduate program—primarily residential students—since 1973. This year, 458 are enrolled in the traditional undergraduate college, a 15 percent increase of students from a year ago. Men now represent 16 percent of this population and 17 percent of the total enrollment. The traditional undergraduate college added 176 new first-year and transfer students—nearly an 8 percent increase from last fall—who represent 11 states and 13 countries.
Wilson’s fastest-growing enrollment program remains graduate study, with 350 students enrolled across seven master’s degree programs—a 50 percent increase over fall 2014. Wilson’s graduate degree programs include accounting, education, management, humanities, nursing, fine arts and healthcare management for sustainability. “College admissions remains extremely competitive today, and while we’d like to see growth at higher levels, we’re happy to continue our positive trend in enrollment,” Mistick states. “It’s gratifying to see more students on campus and the impact they have on the vitality of our community.”
U.S. News & World Report honored Wilson in their newly released “Best Colleges” guide, and ranks the college fourth in the “best value” category for regional colleges in the North and 13th overall in the same category. U.S. News also ranks Wilson among the top regional colleges for international student enrollment, tied for seventh among North regional colleges, with 8 percent of its student body identified as from a country other than the United States.
Wilson’s value ranking, along with recognition as a “Tuition Hero” for holding tuition without an increase over the past six years, affirms the school’s commitment to providing an affordable college education. In addition, AffordableSchools.net included Wilson’s online master’s program in nursing on last week’s list of 25 top affordable online master’s programs in registered nursing.
College officials credit the initiatives of the Wilson Today plan for the increase in enrollment. Approved in January 2013, the plan includes a tuition reduction and student loan buyback program, new career-oriented academic programs, campus improvements, coeducation in all programs and improved marketing and retention efforts.
The Adult Degree Program—for those who’ve been out of high school for at least four years—stands at a total of 290 enrolled students, about the same as last year.