Potomac State Kicks Off Fall 2013 Semester

KEYSER, WV– Every August, faculty and staff of Potomac State College of West Virginia University anxiously await the return of students to campus to kick off the fall semester. This year classes began on Monday, Aug. 19, and the College is reporting an opening week enrollment of just over 1,700 students, about 90 students shy of its total last year.

Two particular demographics in which the College is experiencing enrollment growth are in Early Start (dual high school/college) and out-of-state enrollments. In fact, almost half of the College’s first-time freshmen class is from out-of-state or metro areas which are adjacent out-of-state counties to Mineral County where residents receive a tuition discount paying a total between the in- and out-of-state rates. Tuition discount counties include Allegany and Garrett Counties, in Maryland; Bedford, Somerset and Fayette Counties, in Pennsylvania, and Frederick County, in Virginia.

Potomac State College

According to Beth Little, Director of Enrollment Services, “We’re pleased with our continued growth in the number of out-of-state students who are willing to come the distance because they recognize the benefits of starting at Potomac State.”

Potomac State is now experiencing an enrollment trend similar to other higher education institutions throughout the state as well as the nation. As the The Charleston Gazette recently reported, “As the national economy recovers, enrollment in West Virginia’s colleges is declining…”as a result of better employment opportunities. Also, other data is showing a downward trend in high school graduates nationwide which is not expected to begin improving for another 3-to 5-years.

In regards to housing, Carol Combs, Director of Dining Services and Residence Life, says that the residence halls are near capacity with just over 670 students. This fall, Catamount Place, the former Potomac Valley Hospital, has both itsmale and female floors open to students. This newly renovated residence hall is another option for students who prefer a 24/7 quiet atmosphere. Other residence halls maintain quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. The College now has a total of six residence halls.

“Our team is working hard to counter double barreled enrollment and state funding losses through focused efforts to cut costs, retain more students, develop new applied associate and baccalaureate degree programs, and recruit new nontraditional populations of students,” stated Campus Provost Leonard Colelli.

“This past summer our team created a new Retention Committee, revised our developmental mathematics classes and placement testing procedure and continued to enhance our older residence halls. We are completing a full renovation of the bottom floor of our library to house our Academic Success Center for students, we have been designated as a “Military Friendly School,” and we reorganized our Dining and Housing Services departments into a new auxiliary services area to improve customer service and develop a positive sense of community for our students.

“We will continue to do things that have historically helped our students succeed: personal attention, small class sizes, nurturing atmosphere, effective teaching, accessible faculty, and affordable costs,” concluded Dr. Colelli.