Voorhees University boosts enrollment 25%, rises in HBCU rankings

Voorhees University students in a computer lab on the Denmark, S.C., campus.
Voorhees University students in a computer lab on the Denmark, S.C., campus.(Contributed)
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 3:02 PM EDT
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DENMARK, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Voorhees University welcomed more than 500 students for the 2022-2023 academic year, increasing the university’s previous year’s enrollment by 25 percent.

For the fall 2022 term, 501 students enrolled, including 466 undergraduate and 35 graduate students.

Ronnie Hopkins, president of Voorhees, also announced an increase in enrollment of new students during the opening convocation — a formal ceremony to begin the academic year, on Sept. 8.

“We have welcomed to date a total of 223 new students, including new freshman, transfer, readmit and graduate students, which represents a 104 percent increase from fall 2021,” he said.

Adrian West, vice president for enrollment management, attributed the increase to multiple factors.

“We’ve been working with different agencies across South Carolina to help increase enrollment. We’re contacting students and reaching out on a more regular basis. We’re reaching out to international students by way of the Bahamas and Jamaica, and we have 25 new international students this year, which is encouraging. Lastly, we’ve been increasing numbers in our online programs.”

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Voorhees University offers 18 undergraduate programs and one graduate program.

According to West, the university brought in a more academically prepared group of students this year, which puts it in a better position for retaining students.

One such student is Joshton Mincey, a freshman from Augusta, who originally connected to the school via basketball.

“When I took my first visit, it just felt like home,” Mincey said. “Everybody was welcoming, nice, polite — everyone greeted me. It felt like family. Surrounding myself with people who want to see me succeed and do well as a student-athlete was really important to me. Voorhees University was a no-brainer for me.”

All students must decide on a major at the time of enrollment. This year, two new majors are available: environmental science and hospitality and tourism management. The most popular degrees are criminal justice, business administration and sports management.

Mincey, a sports management major who plans to minor in computer science, said, “I love Voorhees. It’s amazing. It’s where you want to be.”

Nationally, college enrollment is down. A May 2022 report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center revealed college enrollment had fallen 4.1 percent, showing that enrollment numbers have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“The pandemic devastated our numbers and hurt where we were at the time with trying to move enrollment,” West said. “From an institutional standpoint, we are trying to get back to where we were pre-COVID-19, which will likely take us a couple of semesters.”

According to Hopkins and West, the university’s goal is to increase enrollment to 800 students by the year 2027.