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Bolstered by a substantial increase in the number of students receiving federal Pell grants, summer enrollment at the University of Wyoming increased by more than 5 percent.
As of Aug. 6, enrollment had increased 5.2 percent from last summer at the same time, with 6,112 students taking summer classes on the Laramie campus and through the UW Outreach School, compared to 5,812 last summer.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the Pell Grant program provides grants to help qualified students attend college, based on a formula using criteria submitted through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In the summer of 2008, approximately 110 UW students received $78,676 in awards compared to 541 students using $717,707 in Pell grants this summer.
Before July 1, 2009, the only Pell Grant recipients during a summer session were students who had not received their full two semesters worth of grant funds in the preceding academic year, says Dave Gruen, director of student financial aid. He says UW is one of the nation's few schools that began awarding summer Pell grants, as the regulations for implementation do not require schools to offer year-round Pell awards until July 1, 2011.
A revised approach to coordinating and delivering summer courses through the UW Outreach School also contributed to summer enrollments, including expanded study abroad opportunities, says Sara Axelson, UW vice president for student affairs.
"Some administrative changes were made to the delivery of summer courses and an expanded marketing effort was also in place this summer," she says. "The economy has most likely played a role in the decisions by many students to pursue coursework and degree programs."
UW anticipates strong student retention rates as the fall semester begins, Axelson says.
"While a number of factors can still impact enrollment, all of the indicators point to steady overall enrollment for this coming academic year," she says.