ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina State University will welcome a historic number of incoming students this fall, after a decline in enrollment over the last few years due to the pandemic.   

The new president of SC State University, Alexander Conyers, said things are moving in the right direction.

“I’m very excited for our students, for their families for this school year,” he said. “I think the growth is really putting together a first-class team that understands the mission was to recruit students from South Carolina and beyond.  Setting a goal that we thought was attainable, and providing the resources to the team to travel to offer incentives.”

Dr. Manicia Finch, Vice President for Enrollment Management, said the enrollment brunches held by the school’s alumni associations in several states made an impact.

This year, SC State will see its best numbers since 2012 for incoming freshmen, transfer, and re-admitted students.

“This class is really going to be history-making. This will probably be the largest and most diverse enrolled class from states that we ever had here at South Carolina State. We’re in a good place,” said Dr. Finch. “I feel very comfortable. We’re trending 800 plus committed students, and we’re growing, that number is growing daily, so we hope that it culminates to the desired number, the goal, which is over a thousand new students.”

“Our Board of Trustees passed a policy that will allow students from North Carolina with a 3.0 GPA or higher to attend South Carolina State at the in-state tuition. That’s a savings of over $10,000 a year for those students in Charlotte and Atlanta who want to attend South Carolina State University, but didn’t because of high cost of out-of-state tuition,” said President Conyers. “By doing this, we’ve already seen that our number of applications have quadrupled from both of those states.”  

Legacy students around the world and students who are children or grandchildren of SCSU alumni parents or grandparents were offered the same incentives.

With a laser focus on recruiting and retaining its 2,500 students, the university is also expanding its student success and retention program, improving and renovating buildings across the campus, including Crawford Zimmerman and the Student Center.  

SC State has a Cyber Security program now offered as a major, as well as a new College of Agriculture program and New Civil Engineering program.  

And SC State has serious bragging rights when it comes to its Nuclear Engineering program. “Of course, our Nuclear Engineer program is always talked about as being the only one in South Carolina, and the only Nuclear Engineer program at an HBCU in the country,  so we’re very very proud of all of our engineering programs,” said Conyers.

Director of Admissions and Recruitment Davion Petty said the university is working hard to keep the momentum going.  “We need to look at our academic programs, and say this is the new trend, and we need to meet that trend,” he said.

Dr. Finch says, the Bulldogs’ national championship win last year in the Celebration Bowl is also helping to boost enrollment. “We do have some students because of the Celebration Bowl, and we’ve actually been monitoring that. How did you hear about us basically? So there are several that say we saw you on national TV. We liked what we saw with the Celebration Bowl and national 101 Marching Band, so yes, major major help.”

Conyers said graduates around the world are making a huge impact. “Our alumni giving is up. Over $6,000,000 to our annual fund this year, which is a record year for giving by our alums. I’m very very grateful to our alums, who have stepped up across the country, and given back to our University in such a meaningful way that will allow us to do other things we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

Conyers went on to say, “the students who are coming, I say get ready for an amazing South Carolina State experience academically, historically, and spiritually. You’re going to be a great Bulldog, and we’re here to support you.”  

President Conyers says with the historic alumni donations, the university is able to offer scholarships across the spectrum.

SC State University is also looking at adding new student housing as they continue to grow.