Enrollment remains flat at public, four-year colleges

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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Enrollment statistics at Virginia’s colleges and universities proved to be a mixed bag. At public, four-year institutions, overall enrollment from fall 2012 to fall 2013 was flat. Virginia community colleges, however, saw their headcount decrease by 2 percent between those time periods, according to data from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Enrollment was slightly up for the commonwealth’s private, four-year schools, increasing 1.6 percent.

Lynchburg-based Liberty University registered the highest number of students in the state. The private, Christian university enrolled a whopping 77,338 students last fall.  That’s a 4 percent increase from the school’s enrollment figures in fall 2012. But Liberty University isn’t just increasing its population; it has also embarked on a $500 million campus rebuilding project. Earlier this year, for example, the $50 million, 170,000-square-foot Jerry Falwell Library opened on campus.

Northern Virginia Community College enrolled the most number of students at Virginia’s community colleges last fall. Its total enrollment of full-time and part-time students was 51,803, down slightly from the previous year’s 51,864 students.

Fairfax-based George Mason University (GMU) had the highest total enrollment in fall 2013 of Virginia’s public, four-year universities, with 33,917 full- and part-time students. Virginia Commonwealth University barely trailed GMU with 31,288 total students. When it came to the largest number of full-time students at Virginia’s four-year schools, Virginia Tech nabbed the top spot with 28,425 people signing up for classes last fall.

The education section on the following pages looks at endowments at colleges and universities in the state. Endowments were up for all Virginia colleges featured on the 2013 National Association of College and University Business Officers-Commonfund Study of Endowments except for Regent University, whose endowment dropped by 6.5 percent from fiscal year 2012 to FY2013.  University of Virginia had an endowment of $5.2 billion in fiscal year 2013, the largest of Virginia schools featured in the study that year.

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