Lenoir-Rhyne University announced last year that it would start a new program in fall 2020 called Lenoir-Rhyne Promise. The university could see a potential increase in student enrollment as this program offers 50 percent off tuition to all North Carolina residents.
The idea took root as administrators discussed the creation of the Lenoir-Rhyne Promise and how it could provide in-state students with an affordable education.
“It ensures that they will have a 50 percent discount on their tuition if they have a 3.5 GPA and that’s through a combination of Lenoir-Rhyne scholarships and federal and state grants,” said Vice President of Enrollment Management, Rachel Nichols.
The GPA requirement for the program is weighted.
The goal of Lenoir-Rhyne Promise is to “attract students to visit, apply, and enroll,” according to Nichols.
Currently, the school accepts seven out of every 10 students who apply to Lenoir-Rhyne.
Director of Financial Aid Courtney Thompson-Ballard believes that the student placement issue is a “good problem to have.”
“I think as we grow, we will certainly be looking to make sure that we’re able to accommodate students appropriately and that’s a conversation that we will be having moving forward,” said Thompson-Ballard.
For the incoming class, LR has enough space to enroll additional students but more strategic planning will be needed if the LR Promise program attracts a large amount of prospective students from across the state.
LR hopes to have 1,550 to 1,600 full-time undergraduates for next fall. The expansion of LR Promise across the state may increase that desired number. The small private liberal arts university currently has 1,531 undergraduates.
“We want to open the circle as wide as we can to get as many people to be able to consider us as an affordable option,” said Nichols.
While the university is expanding the Promise program, it is also trying to be financially responsible.
“We want to have financial aid packages that are attractive to our students but if we overspend on financial aid then we don’t have enough money in the budget to do what we need to do in terms of hiring faculty, student activities, making improvements to the campus,” said Nichols.
“It’s a very complicated and delicate balance.”
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Kelli M. Barnette added, “We aren’t talking about going from our current undergraduate enrollments to tens of thousands. We don’t have the infrastructure to support that, and I don’t think that that is really the aim of the institution overall.”