As in-person events such as orientation and campus tours return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, East Carolina University has seen success in potential student enrollment and spring 2022 admission numbers.
Stephanie Whaley, director of ECU’s Undergraduate Admissions, said admissions has had a productive recruitment season as the office searches for potential students for the spring and fall of 2022. She said an in-person fall open house gave students the opportunity to interact with the campus and its resources. The event brought impressive student turnout, Whaley said, with 820 students in attendance compared to the 639 students who participated in 2020’s virtual open house.
The university’s participation in North Carolina Countdown to College free application week brought great success to Undergraduate Admissions as well, Whaley said, with 7,086 total applications received from Oct. 18 to Oct. 22, with 477 of those applications being from potential transfer students.
“As far as an advantage (for admissions), for the second year in a row the UNC (University of North Carolina) System has allowed us to waive test scores for admissions purposes,” Whaley said. “For high school students, that seems to be an advantage because many of our high school students get nervous about tests and worry about what they’re going to make on it, and it just creates a lot of stress and anxiety.”
In terms of the spring 2022 semester, Whaley said admissions is leading last year’s numbers of applications from potential freshmen with 408 applications as of Nov. 12, approximately 100 applications more than for 2021. Though admissions has seen an increase with spring freshmen applications, Whaley said potential transfer student applications have experienced a slight drop of about 100 applications with 897 current spring transfer applications.
As of Nov. 12, Whaley said there are currently 512 total applications from potential transfer students and 14,140 from potential freshman students. Due to the NC Countdown to College free application week’s shorter duration this year, there are about 1,000 less freshmen applications compared to last year’s numbers.
Out-of-state initiatives such as Pirates in Your Town have also been successful, Whaley said, as admissions has expanded in-person efforts into Virginia and other states throughout the northeast. She said nontraditional learners such as adult students have been another major focus of admissions in an effort to increase admissions numbers. Both in-person and online options have provided plenty of options for prospective students, Whaley said, as the pandemic has created a new sense of flexibility for admissions.
“ECU has a lot of different options. We have so many different programs to choose from and then we have options as to being in the classroom or in-person or being at home in the online classroom,” Whaley said. “So, we really have a lot to offer. Those are kind of the strategies and some of the new things we’ve been doing, and so far so good.”
Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid Julie Poorman said the university will not be working with students regarding financial aid for fall 2022 until March 2022. Until then, she said the office communicates with students as they enter the institution for the spring and distributes awards based on the 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
As of Nov. 10, Poorman said the university has made about 26,000 financial aid offers in loans, grants, scholarships and work study awards for the 2021-2022 academic year. She said the university has also dispersed about 12 to 13 million dollars to students this fall through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
To apply for various scholarships offered by the university, Poorman said students should file a FAFSA immediately and apply through the ECUAWard Scholarship Portal by Jan. 15. She said students should complete the FAFSA application before March 1, 2022. Students should keep an eye on their email for important updates from the Office of Student Financial Aid, Poorman said, as well as on postcards and physical mail updates.
“Financial aid is important to helping students finance not just their tuition and fees, but also for things like having a place to sleep, food to eat, books to study with,” Poorman said. “So, financial aid does take that into account. It’s not just tuition and fees to go to college, it’s also housing and food and books and supplies.”
Associate Director for Transfer Recruitment within Undergraduate Admissions Erica Hoyt was unavailable to conduct an interview with The East Carolinian.