B-CU Poised to Welcome Its Largest Freshman Class Since Pre-COVID

DaJuste and Wil EB-CU Director of Admissions and Recruitment Mr. Billy DaJuste and Wil D. Cat welcome new and returning students during the university's recent accepted students day April 27.

While most higher ed institutions are in crisis trying to meet enrollment targets, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) is bucking a national trend.

Dr. Camaille Shepard, Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Title IX Compliance, reported the university has received not only a record-breaking number of applications, but to date, 74% more students have paid their deposits to secure their spots in the class of 2028 than had done the same this time last year.

“We are pleased to report that our application yield is robust, surpassing last year's figures by 6% with a total of 13,172 applications to date,” she said. “This positive trend is further reinforced by the fact that each student secures their seat by making an enrollment deposit. The upcoming class is performing exceptionally well, with 462 deposits, marking a significant 74% increase compared to the same period last year,” as of mid-April, she said.

Data shows that between 2019 and 2022, college and university enrollment around the country declined by 8%, with cost being one of the leading factors driving a student’s decision to pursue higher education or join the workforce. But B-CU, like many historically Black institutions, is facing the opposite trend.

“Our faith-based institution as well as our student life has really been a driver in terms of why families come to the institution and of course, most importantly, is the legacy and history of our founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune,” Dr. Shepard told Central Florida Public Media reporters last week.
Shepard said the university has recruited heavily from across the state of Florida, as well as in the Bahamas. Information sessions for student outreach are being planned in both Florida and Georgia for the summer, as the institution continues to trek across the country to welcome in future Wildcats.

The university community is working hard to prepare to welcome our new Wildcats, and to ensure the campus remains a safe and welcoming place for those who are returning to continue their educations.

“As we're looking at the numbers, we are working with our housing because we need to make sure we have beds for students. But there have been plans underway over the past year in terms of our facilities, not only expanding those, but improving those. So it's really a collaborative conversation across the institution,” Dr. Shepard said in the interview.