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6 Targeted Schools See Growth

Of the seven targeted schools, Elizabeth City State University was the only one to see a slight decline.

Figures released Friday indicate that six of the seven schools that have been charged with the task of boosting enrollment met their goals for fall 2001.

The schools, which were first targeted in 1998, are historically black colleges and universities, as well as schools with traditionally low enrollment, including N.C. Central University, N.C. Agricultural & Technical University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University.

UNC-Pembroke, a traditionally Native American university, and Western Carolina University were also in the group.

For the entire focus group, total enrollment was up by 2,411 students, an increase of 6.5 percent. The UNC-system grew 4.3 percent -- 7,057 students.

The most notable growth came from UNC-P, which experienced a 14.1 percent growth, raising total enrollment from 3,445 to 3,932 students.

Elizabeth City State was the only focus-growth institution to decrease in size. Enrollment was down by 34 students, from 2,035 students in fall 2000 to 2,001 in fall 2001.

Gretchen Bataille, UNC-system vice president for academic affairs, said system officials focused on boosting enrollment at seven specific schools because of a lack of space at more popular institutions, including UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University.

"We anticipate 50,000 more students at the undergraduate level by 2010," Bataille said. "Clearly we have to find room for them, and some of these campuses, particularly in metro areas, already are at or near capacity in terms of buildings and residence halls."

Bataille said the seven focus institutions were targeted because they have the capacity to take more students. She said a goal of the project is to make sure N.C. students are aware that there are schools with space, though more popular universities like UNC-CH and N.C. State are quickly running out of room.

"(Increasing enrollment involves) a combination of things. At the front end it's getting students in," Bataille said. "Part of our effort has been providing students with a better picture of what they can expect at each of the 16 (system) institutions."

UNC-P Admissions Director Jackie Clark said the tremendous strides the school has made in enrollment during the past few years is because of a fervent effort on the part of administrators to sell the school to potential students.

"I think there are two major keys," she said. "One is increased advertising and marketing throughout key areas in North Carolina, as well as out of state."

Clark said an important selling point for the university is that it has the atmosphere of small private school, as well as more opportunities for students who want a relationship with faculty. She added that the school's size allows students easy access to leadership roles on campus.

Bataille also stressed that students need to look for schools that provide the exact services they desire.

"I think it's important to recognize that every student has different needs," she said.

"Most of (the target) schools are smaller environments."

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