Francis Marion sets enrollment record

Pratik Patel, Staff Writer

Director of Admissions Perry T. Wilson said that Francis Marion University enrolled 4,187 students this fall, breaking the record enrollment set in 1993.

“Our record enrollment is 4187 students, and that is 84 more students than the previous high that was set in 1993,” Wilson said. “We increased enrollment by 155 from 4,032 last fall which gives us about a 3.7% increase.”

Wilson said that the increase from last fall was an ideal one.

“When I was hired about a year ago, Dr. Carter told me that he wanted to increase enrollment by 2.5 to 3 percent each year,” Wilson said. “But he doesn’t want to grow too quickly because we want to have to have the resources – the faculty, and the support – that our students would need rather than trying to have a really big growth.”

Wilson said that undergraduate applications for incoming freshman were also record-setting at 3,841 applications.

“Our undergraduate applications were at a record high this year,” Wilson said. “We had a total of 3,841 applications this fall, which is an increase from 3,596 last year.”

Wilson said that she points out to high school students and their parents that Francis Marion offers a small college feel at a public college price.

“The quality that you get at one of the public liberal arts colleges, and that’s what we are, you’re going to get the great faculty who want to teach, we don’t have grad assistants that are teaching the 100-level classes, you are going to get it a reasonable price, and we’ve got a beautiful campus, and we’re growing with the athletic facility, and things are great here,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that efforts in further increasing enrollments are still ongoing by the addition of a third McNair scholar, and inviting high school students to open houses and individual visits.

“We’re adding a third McNair scholar for next year, and applications for those are already ahead from last year,” Wilson said. “About 50% of the students who visit us will enroll, so our other big push is to invite students to open houses, come to individual visits.”

Wilson said that the applications and admission of students for next fall is already up compared to this fall.

“Right now we are 31% ahead in the number of freshman applications for fall 2012,” Wilson said. “We are about 28% up in new admits and 40% up in transfer admits.”

Wilson said that the efforts of the admissions office staff and the school’s administration are to be credited for the success of increasing enrollment.

“We have a great staff that works hard and a very supportive administration,” Wilson said.