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Williams Baptist University students participate in the Eagle Walk on Aug. 23 during Welcome Weekend.

Enrollment at Williams Baptist University has climbed for the third straight year, with the number of on-campus students rising to 600. Fall enrollment on WBU’s main campus in Walnut Ridge increased by 3.5 percent compared to last year, capping a jump of 31 percent over the past three years.

The number of WBU students on the main campus is a record in the modern history of the university. Overall enrollment, which includes on-campus, online and off-campus students, also edged upward to 629, an increase of 10 students over last fall.

“We are grateful to God for these enrollment numbers across the board,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of WBU. “The pandemic created significant restrictions and disruptions for almost all university functions and processes, and this was especially true for our admissions team and their recruitment strategies. As has been true of Williams throughout our history, however, our admissions staff, along with our faculty and coaches, rose to the occasion and implemented creative strategies to overcome these obstacles. Our entire campus family is to be commended on a remarkable team effort that made this increase possible in the face of such challenges.”

WBU’s enrollment climbed on the strength of its returning students, as well as growth in its Williams Works initiative. The university has 352 returning students on campus this fall, an increase of 20 percent over last year.

The Williams Works initiative is in its second year and has 74 students enrolled this fall, up from 44 last year. Williams Works students work 16 hours per week through the fall and spring semesters to cover their tuition and student service fees. Additionally, students who choose to work full-time through the summer can offset their room and board charges, giving them the chance to graduate debt-free.

“Enrollment is a campus-wide effort,” said Norman. “It begins with our outstanding enrollment management team and extends to all the professors and coaches who help make these students a part of our university family. Recruitment and retention also include staff and administrators who play a pivotal role in ensuring students have the full Williams experience. God has blessed the efforts of the entire Williams family, and I congratulate all members of our WBU community on this great accomplishment.”

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