news-category: Admissions

Gardner-Webb Officials Continue to Address College Affordability Issues

A welcome new students banner hangs at the entrance of Tucker Student Center

University Awards Over $22 Million in Institutional Scholarships and Grants

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Reports from several government agencies highlight the need for higher education leaders to address college affordability in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials at Gardner-Webb University remain committed to helping students and families access financial aid offerings.

For the 2020-21 school year, GWU awarded over $22 million in institutional scholarships and grants. Included in these awards are the Foothills Commitment and Transfer-Friendly initiatives, which support students from the local area, surrounding counties and beyond. 

“Gardner-Webb University is committed to providing an affordable, world-class education to all students,” stated Kristen Setzer, vice president for Enrollment Management. “The Transfer-Friendly initiative is just one of the ways that we support our transfer students. In addition, the Foothills Commitment puts our values into action by making it possible for more students right in our backyard to experience a GWU education.”

The Foothills Commitment helped to contribute a 64.8 percent increase in students from Cleveland, Gaston and Rutherford counties. The initiative recently expanded to include residents of Lincoln County, N.C., adding more students from this area. One student who came to Gardner-Webb because of the Foothills Commitment is Tommy Austin-Zimmerman of Gaston County. A freshman psychology major, Austin-Zimmerman decided to tour GWU after he heard about the Foothills opportunity. “I fell in love with the campus immediately,” he said, adding that everyone he met treated him with genuine kindness.  

The Transfer-Friendly program produced a 24.3 percent increase in transfer enrollment. In addition, 92.8 percent of full-time transfer students who entered the Traditional Undergraduate (TUG) Program in fall 2020 returned for the spring 2021 semester, which is an all-time record.

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs

“We are thrilled that more students are choosing Gardner-Webb,” affirmed University President Dr. William M. Downs. “They’re choosing us for our world-class degree programs, for our talented faculty, for our caring and compassionate Christian environment, and for the excitement of 22 NCAA Division I sports. Now they are also choosing us for our commitment to making a life-changing college experience that much more affordable.”

The Foothills Commitment provides a minimum of $15,610 (50 percent of tuition) in all forms of institutional aid to new freshmen students from Cleveland, Gaston, Rutherford and Lincoln counties who enroll in a full-time residential undergraduate program at GWU. The Transfer-Friendly program offers financial incentives to students at other four-year universities to transfer to Gardner-Webb.

Gardner-Webb’s total spring enrollment—in undergraduate, non-traditional undergraduate and graduate programs—is approximately 3,389, with 1,106 students living on campus. From the spring 2019 semester to spring ‘21, the University saw a two-year jump of 52 students (4.26 percent).

For more information about these programs, other financial aid, and Gardner-Webb Admissions, email [email protected] or call 800-253-6472.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at 

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