PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia State University leaders addressed a problem that’s hard to see on Thursday: the school’s shrinking enrollment.
Nearly 4,400 students were enrolled at VSU this fall, a total down from roughly 4,800 students in the previous year.
Across the country, historically black colleges and universities are struggling with finances. Students and faculty want to do what they can to preserve their legacy.
8News spoke with VSU students and officials about the drop in enrollment.
For some students, Virginia State University was a perfect fit.
“When I toured the school, I just felt it was home, you know, it’s an HBCU. You walk the tour, you know, you meet new people, meet their advisors, and you see how much people care about you,” Ariel Cheatam.
Historically black colleges and universities, HBCU, want to maintain stability. VSU noticed a slight dip in enrollment number this past fall.
While the number seems minimal at VSU, shrinking enrollment seems to be a common trend at select HBCU’s across the country.
One student told 8News she believes that unequal government funding for HBCU’s play a role.
“Even at the community colleges,” student Yuriah Adams said, “I’ve seen the technology be more up-to-date, up-to-date, period.”
University leaders now have to start thinking long-term and find ways to recruit students from all cultural backgrounds.
Adams believes VSU future remains bright.
“I don’t think it’s going to continue because I see that HBCUs are starting to trend amongst our generation and just our culture,” she told 8News.
The university’s president told 8News that VSU anticipated a decrease in enrollment this past year but the school is dedicated to recruiting more students and look forward to the students joining in the fall.