Alcorn State, Miss. (September 9, 2013) – Three Alcorn State University campuses – Lorman, Natchez and Vicksburg, enrollment growth remains steady at 3,927 students, according to data released today, September 9, by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. University enrollment has remained healthy from a year ago with 3,950 students, a 0.6 percent decrease.
According to Dr. Ramesh Maddali, director of institutional research, the figures released today include undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Alcorn.
The decrease was not unexpected as Alcorn’s main campus is at capacity, said Executive Vice President and Provost Samuel L. White. “We’re holding the student numbers to 3,900-4,000. With the increase in enrollment in 2011, we realized quickly that the shortage of adequate classrooms, residence halls and faculty and staff would challenge our enrollment growth target.”
Alcorn’s capital projects are a critical component of our enrollment strategy, which includes a new 70,000 square foot technology and classroom building, plus a 25 million expansion that will add modern classrooms, residence halls and living accommodations for faculty and staff.
Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Carl D. Cunningham understands the importance of education in today’s economy. “Alcorn is working to increase enrollment in our Vicksburg and Natchez markets, giving many students the opportunity to have adult lives that help them become or remain financially self-sufficient.”
The recent grant and loan changes affect everyone from first-time students to those nearing graduation. The Lifetime Eligibility maximum of six years (600 percent) of Pell Grant really impacts our students, says Juanita McKenzie Russell, director of financial aid.
“Students that are denied Parent Plus loans lose the flexibility to finance their education, add that to the Pell Grant limitation, this creates a new barrier to an Alcorn education – expected money is no longer available,” explains Russell.
Over 90 percent of Alcorn students receive Pell Grants, making the funding source paramount, especially for those students whose families struggle monthly to make ends meet.
Funding reductions produced students’ shortfalls from as little as $200 to as much as $2,500. Alcorn alumni last year raised money and helped some students remain in college. The university continues to work with alumni to make up those shortfalls, and this year established the Braves Work Program to help students close the financial gap.
Similar to the Federal Work Study program, the Braves Work program allows students to develop valuable skills while working to pay down the cost to attend Alcorn. The University’s Work Study students receive over $400,000 in aid and the Braves Work program is funded at a sum of more than $300,000.
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Donzell Lee said Alcorn is continually working to adapt to the needs of students today and to expand the opportunities for those seeking to earn a degree. “The Braves Work Program is designed to assist students with financial hardships and aid them in earning their degree and becoming highly employable.”
Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships that benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation, and world.