Wednesday, 15 September 2021 15:16

UNC Pembroke's enrollment hits all-time high, despite pandemic

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UNCP is experiencing record enrollment for the fourth year in a row, according to university census data. Enrollment for Fall 2021 stands at 8,319, a 0.7% increase compared with Fall 2020. Over the last five years, UNCP has seen a 32% spike in overall enrollment. UNCP is experiencing record enrollment for the fourth year in a row, according to university census data. Enrollment for Fall 2021 stands at 8,319, a 0.7% increase compared with Fall 2020. Over the last five years, UNCP has seen a 32% spike in overall enrollment. UNCP

PEMBROKE — Enrollment has hit an all-time high as more students choose UNC Pembroke as their college of choice. The upward trend comes as the Office of Admissions overcame challenges with limited campus visitors and travel restrictions due to the pandemic. 


UNCP is experiencing record enrollment for the fourth year in a row, according to university census data. Enrollment for Fall 2021 stands at 8,319, a 0.7% increase compared with Fall 2020. Over the last five years, UNCP has seen a 32% spike in overall enrollment. 

The freshman retention rate is 73%, another record high.  

“UNCP’s reputation for offering a high-quality education at an affordable price has positioned us to continue our growth for the fourth consecutive year,” said Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings.  

“Our university has always been centered on our access to education, and we proudly continue to fulfill that mission with more students than ever before choosing our university to pursue their undergraduate and graduate-level degrees.  

“Along with attracting more students, our increase in retention following the many challenges we’ve faced over the pandemic is a testament of our faculty and staff’s commitment to student success,” Cummings added. 

University leaders point to the NC Promise Tuition Plan as a significant contributor to the steady growth. The state established the tuition plan to increase access to a quality university education by reducing student costs. 

This marks the fourth year since the NC Promise program has been offered at UNCP, which lowers tuition to $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 per semester for out-of-state students. 

UNCP was not on Emily Everett’s radar when she was considering college options. However, after learning about NC Promise being offered at UNCP, she decided to end her search. 

“I want to be able to graduate debt-free, and the NC Promise plan was the best opportunity for me,” said Everett, a first-year business management student.  

NC Promise was also a selling point for sophomore Jaylen Hoover and senior Autumn Wright. They both considered attending other UNC System schools before comparing the tuition costs at UNCP.  

“The prices here were much more appealing,” said Hoover, an exercise and sport science major with dreams of becoming a physical therapist. 

Wright agreed, saying NC Promise affords more students the option of going to college. 

“You can go to a big-name school, but you’re going to pay a big-name price when you can get practically the same experience here for a lot less.” 

A sophomore from Hoke County, Alex Jacobs chose UNCP because it is affordable and close to home. He is studying biology, focusing on zoology, and plans to further his studies at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Engle Revels, director of Admissions, commended her team for their diligence in navigating through an all-new recruitment landscape. 

“I am proud to be a part of a team that is much stronger than the challenges we’ve faced–a team that pushed through uncontrollable factors and unprecedented times to ensure the success of our institution. This achievement is a collective effort reflective of our faculty and staff’s commitment to continue pushing the needle forward,” Revels said.  

“We have quickly adjusted and adapted to our new normal, and our record enrollment speaks to our determination and willingness to be resilient in the face of great change,” she continued.  

Sophomore Zavier Bacote said he is excited to return as a second-year business marketing major. A member of the Army-ROTC program, Bacote has his sights on commissioning into the Army to become an aviator.   

“UNCP is a close-knit community. It’s not too big, so you make more friends here. It’s a family atmosphere. UNCP does a great job organizing events to keep everyone involved, so your experience is not focused solely on academics. I was accepted to other colleges, but I didn’t want to be in debt over the years while getting the same education.”