INSTITUTE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- On Friday afternoon, the campus of West Virginia State University was quiet at the start of the holiday weekend, but when students return the campus will be buzzing like never before.
“We're very excited about this year's growth,” said WVSU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Katherine McCarthy.
School officials tell WSAZ.com freshman enrollment numbers for the 2013-2014 academic year have surged. The numbers (from 291 last fall to 432 this fall) show almost a 50 percent spike from last year.
McCarthy credits aggressive marketing but acknowledges that for the largely commuter school with it's relatively low cost tuition -- the hard-hit economy may have also played a role.
"We know that it plays a role in students' decisions to pursue education and also to choose West Virginia State because it is an affordable option for them," she added.
McCarthy says the school has also sped up how quickly they send out financial aid packages.
That's something freshman transfers Jeremy Noel, of Cyclone, and Marquise Perry, of Logan, said sped up their decision to choose a school.
“Mostly because of tuition and they have the major I need,” Noel said.
School officials say they will continue using the strategy in hopes of further increasing enrollment.