Wilberforce also hopes this campaign will encourage an increase in enrollment. The university lost about 12% of enrollment between fall 2019 and fall 2020.
But Woodson said the program, which was worked into this year’s budget, is part of an effort to attract students rather than a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the rise of higher education nationwide, the feedback that we’ve been getting from students, families and even friends of Wilberforce University, is that they’re really excited about any opportunity to help with college affordability,” he said.
The university mainly attracts students from within Ohio, but there are students who attend Wilberforce from out-of-state, including from Detroit and Chicago.
“This is quality, affordable education. Wilberforce University wants to encourage new, undergraduate, CLIMB program students, and master’s degree candidates who are Ohio residents, to look in their own ‘backyards’ and see how this historic institution of higher learning is energetically beckoning them to the Wilberforce experience,” said James Burrell, assistant vice president of enrollment management at Wilberforce.
Out-of-state students do not qualify for the reduction. Room and board and general fees will remain the same.
Wilberforce is the nation’s oldest private historically Black university and is located near Xenia. Last month the university announced during its spring graduation that the school would wipe out $375,000 in debt and fines owed to the school by graduates from spring 2020 through those who graduated in May.