A record freshman class has pushed enrollment up by more than 12 percent on the campus of Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Ark. The university announced its fall enrollment numbers as the WBU Board of Trustees met in regular session Friday, Sept. 13.
Enrollment is up across nearly all categories at WBU this fall, led by a class of 198 freshmen. That figure represents a 26.9 percent increase over last year’s count of 156 freshmen. The freshman class is the largest since Williams became a four-year institution in 1984, and is one of its largest ever.
Williams has an on-campus enrollment of 517 this semester, which is a 12.6 percent jump from the 459 students who were enrolled last fall.
“We are elated with the fall enrollment numbers, which reflect the hard work of many people across the WBU campus. We especially commend Angela Flippo, our vice president for enrollment management, and her entire team in the admissions and financial aid offices. They have done incredible work over the past year, and we are reaping the rewards this fall,” said WBU President Dr. Stan Norman.
Total enrollment at WBU, which includes on-campus, online and off campus extension numbers, stands at 553, an improvement of 11.6 percent over last year’s number of 497.
The university also enjoyed an increase in its full-time equivalent (FTE), which is an important budget number for colleges and universities. The total FTE at Williams stands at 538 this year, which is a 12.3 percent spike.
In other business, the Board of Trustees approved the formation of a prayer advisory board at WBU. The group will be composed of volunteers who agree to pray regularly for the university and its students, and to lead efforts to have others pray for the school, as well.
“As a Christian institution, we believe firmly that God is the provider of all our blessings, and that his providence has brought WBU to where it is today. The prayer advisory board takes seriously the work of prayer for Williams and commits to keeping the institution the subject of prayer for our many supporters,” said Norman.
The board also elected officers for the upcoming year. Dave Russell of Jonesboro will continue his service as chair of the Williams board. James Miller of Melbourne will serve as vice chair, while Theodis Brown of Hot Springs will be the secretary.
WBU has a 24-person board, and its members are appointed by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Williams is owned and operated by the ABSC.