Record-breaking enrollment reported at ECU

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, September 7, 2017

GREENVILLE — East Carolina University’s record-breaking fall enrollment of 29,131 students represents all 100 counties in North Carolina, 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 44 countries. It’s also the largest undergraduate enrollment recorded at ECU — 23,265. The class of 2021 is the third-largest freshman class on record.

One of the areas that saw a boost this semester in undergraduate and doctoral students is the College of Nursing. There was a 15-percent increase in undergraduate nursing students, and the number of students seeking a Doctor of Nursing Practice went up 5 percent.

“The growth in our undergraduate enrollment is a testament to the success of our two innovative programs that give students new ways to pursue a baccalaureate nursing degree,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing.

ECU’s accelerated second-degree bachelor of science in nursing program gives individuals who have a degree in another field the ability to earn the degree in 12 months, Brown said. The RIBN, or Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses, program allows students to be concurrently enrolled at select community colleges and ECU, often making the degree more cost efficient.

“Increased demand for primary care providers across the nursing profession and more opportunities for nurses to advance in their careers have driven interest in our DNP program,” Brown said. “This clinical doctorate program allows nurses to continue working while completing coursework online, which is very important to them.”

The College of Engineering and Technology saw a big jump, 31 percent, in the construction management program, and the finance program within the College of Business increased enrollment for this semester by 22 percent.

CET Dean Harry Ploehn said the college’s goal is to enhance academic excellence.

“These terrific enrollment numbers reflect the streamlining the department of construction management has undertaken and how it incorporated state-of-the-art courses that reflect the construction industry’s needs,” Ploehn said.

In the College of Business, students have the opportunity to interact and learn from industry leaders that have helped shape the college’s reputation, said Stan Eakins, dean of the College of Business.

One example includes a gift from ECU alumnus and ECU Board of Trustees member Bob Plybon, who contributed to the Student Pirate Investment Fund that allows students to gain real-world experience.

“These numbers demonstrate how our college’s alumni are engaged with our students and their success,” said Eakins. “Our Risk Management and Insurance program sponsors annual, on-site visits and enjoys nearly 100-percent job placement of its graduates.”

In addition to the record-breaking enrollment numbers, students seeking doctoral and professional practice degrees — including areas such as audiology, dentistry, physical therapy and medicine — grew to 819, the largest in the university’s history.

Other programs that saw significant increases were graduate students in counselor education and undergraduate majors in criminal justice.

At UNC System institutions, the 10th day of class is traditionally “census day,” when a snapshot is captured of the school’s enrollment data. Enrollment figures are considered preliminary until reviewed and approved by the UNC General Administration.