With a total enrollment of 5,054 students for the 2019-20 academic year, Delaware State University has broken all prior enrollment records for the ninth time in 10 years, going above the 5,000-student mark for the first time in history, and a full year ahead of the goals set in the university’s Pride 2020 strategic plan.
“This is a historic occasion,” said DSU President Wilma Mishoe. “In 10 years the university has grown 40%, chiefly due to our emphasis on student success. The word is getting out around the country and the globe.”
This landmark total enrollment figure includes students at the Dover Main Campus; Georgetown Campus; Wilmington Campus; DSU Online; students at Ningbo University of Technology and Changchun University of Science and Technology in China; and Early College High School students taking university classes.
The new freshman class of 1,145 students is the largest in the institution’s history. The class also reflects a record-high of in-state students, 51% of whom are Inspire Scholarship recipients. The Inspire Scholarship is a four-year, state-sponsored scholarship to DSU for Delaware high school students with a 2.75 GPA and commitment to community service while they are in school. Since 2010, more than 2,200 Delaware students have received the Inspire Scholarship.
Early College High School has been a major driver in enrollment growth over the past several years. Among the first two graduating classes, 53% of that student body has gone on to attend DSU after graduating high school.
“We aspire to be the most inclusive, contemporary HBCU in the country,” said DSU Provost and Executive Vice President Tony Allen. “That means being accessible to all students, particularly those right here at home. Thanks to the governor and General Assembly approving the fourth year of the Inspire Scholarship, we’ve seen a significant rise in our ability to attract great students from a wide array of backgrounds, particularly those who are first-generation. Knowing that you will qualify for an excellent, low-cost education is a powerful incentive.”
DSU also admitted 328 new transfer students, 130 students into DSU Online and 115 new graduate students, which are all the largest numbers in the university’s history. The 19.6% increase in new graduate enrollment follows a 24% rise in 2018, highlighting the university’s sustained emphasis on the growth of such programs.
Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management Antonio Boyle attributed these gains to “a massive team effort from all areas of the university.” He included recruiting, admissions, financial aid, faculty and all of the staff across the campus in his praise.
“We go out and represent the university to excited, well-qualified high school students, and the work done behind the scenes makes it a compelling proposition — ‘It All Matters,’” said Boyle.
Mishoe noted a 40% enrollment increase during the past decade was especially significant given that the average enrollment for most HBCUs has declined over the same period.