BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — A decrease in enrollment at Bluefield State College has some officials concerned.
According to the West Virginia Higher Education Report Card, Bluefield State experienced a 28.7% decrease in enrollment between 2012-2017. Only two of the state’s public, four-year institutions show an increase in enrollment in the same report.
Bluefield State Communications Director Kimberly Gross said in a statement there are a few factors for the drop, but one is of particular concern.
“The reduction in the area’s population does limit prospective local students, which ultimately drives recruitment efforts to seek new markets which was identified in the BSC master plan. Bluefield State has expanded our metro-rate opportunities to additional counties in surrounding states to increase the prospective students who might consider Bluefield State.”
Gross also said another consideration for those wanting to attend college is affordability. Southern West Virginia’s economy, which is where the majority of Bluefield State students come from, has hindered decisions to pursue higher education.
“Many students need additional grants, scholarships, or waivers to pursue an education. Recognizing this need, the BSC Foundation actively engages in fund-raising opportunities for scholarship opportunities.
Delegate John Shott (R-Mercer) told MetroNews affiliate WJLS that Bluefield State is vital to the community.
“It’s my understanding that the college is probably the second largest employer in the city. It’s extremely important to the city and it’s just in our best interest to make sure the potential of the school is maximized.”
The City of Bluefield released a statement to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph recently saying they are seeking a leadership change at the school.
“The city recommends Dr. Marsha Krotseng (BSC President) step down and new leadership be installed. The board of governors needs a complete overhaul of its membership to bring fresh ideas, actionable ideas and proper oversight to a newly formed administration.”
Gross responded by saying despite some hardships, Bluefield State and its current administration remain committed to working and adapting toward what is best for its students and the community.
“”For 123 years, Bluefield State has served southern West Virginia through excellence in teaching, student learning, research and community service. It is important to remain focused on this vital work and continue the momentum that has produced many significant accomplishments. President Krotseng reaffirms her earlier offer to sit down with all parties to keep the college moving forward on a positive trajectory in the best interest of our students.”