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Shepherd enrollment up by nearly 6 percent

November 16, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd University had the second-highest headcount enrollment increase in the state this year among West Virginia's four-year baccalaureate schools, according to state figures.

Shepherd's headcount enrollment increased from 3,682 in 2004 to 3,901 this year, a 5.9 percent increase.

The highest headcount enrollment occurred at Fairmont State University, which saw an increase from 4,163 students to 4,710 students, a 13.1 percent jump.

The state's four-year baccalaureate schools do not include West Virginia University and Marshall University, which are considered research institutions.

Shepherd University President David L. Dunlop attributed Shepherd's jump in enrollment to the school's high-quality teaching staff, a large offering of extracurricular programs and construction of new facilities.

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Among the construction projects are new dormitories and a $15.9 million library that opened three years ago.

The new library not only served the needs of the growing school, but housed a legislative studies center in tribute to one of the most popular politicians in West Virginia history, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.

The library's Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies serves many purposes, including space to store papers Byrd has written during his years in public service.

Sports also plays a role in attracting students, Dunlop said.

After it was announced that Shepherd's football team would see postseason play this year, there were about 700 sports-related hits on the school's Web site, Dunlop said.

"It's kinda like the happening place," Dunlop said.

Enrollment increases occurred at higher institutions across the state this year.

Nearly 1,635 more students are attending public colleges and universities in West Virginia this fall compared with last year, according to enrollment figures released Monday.

Overall, the state saw enrollment grow 2.6 percent to 63,475 students, according to the Higher Education Policy Commission.

"During a period when the number of high school graduates is declining, it is encouraging to see that the college-going rate is increasing," interim Chancellor Bruce Flack said in a news release.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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