news-category: Admissions

Gardner-Webb Welcomes Fourth Largest Freshmen Class in School History

Four GWU students stand at GWU's main gate welcoming new students to campus

Class of 2024 Began Their First Fall Semester on Aug. 19

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Earlier this week, Gardner-Webb University welcomed the fourth largest freshmen class in school history. The 469 members of the Class of 2024 began their first fall semester on Aug. 19. Gardner-Webb’s total fall enrollment—in undergraduate, Degree Completion and graduate programs—is approximately 3,500, with nearly 1,200 students living on campus.

“We’re excited for these new Runnin’ Bulldogs to join us, and we have great things in store for them,” noted Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs. “Their GWU journey is just beginning, and we commit to making it an exceptional and rewarding experience.”

Welcome new students sign

Downs pointed to several reasons for the record enrollment, including the Board of Trustees commitment to freeze tuition for a second year in a row and the diligent work of the GWU enrollment and marketing teams. “In the crowded marketplace of colleges and universities, Gardner-Webb is standing apart from our competitors who continually raise the cost burden on students,” Downs observed. “Most importantly, we are doing this without compromising the outstanding quality of instruction and the world-class caliber of our degree programs.”

While holding the line on tuition costs, several other financial incentives were offered, such as the Foothills Commitment to residents of Cleveland, Gaston and Rutherford counties, and the expansion of church-matching and minister’s dependent scholarships. The University also instituted a tuition freeze for students in Gardner-Webb’s Degree Completion Program and began an aggressive marketing campaign to increase transfer enrollment by offering free room and board to students transferring from a four-year college.

new student unloading trunk

“We targeted specific communities and regions in the southeast with financial incentives and especially transfer options,” said Vice President of Marketing Richard McDevitt. “We believed in the current environment that students and families would be looking for options for their undergraduate experience. We have been very pleased with the results, especially in our transfer numbers, which are up substantially.”

Additionally, the GWU faculty approved a revision of the general education requirements. The restructured curriculum reduces the number of required credit hours by a third, creating a more transfer-friendly pathway, opening space for most students to pursue a minor, and reducing the time to graduation for everyone. “Gardner-Webb now has a core that prepares every student for the key skills that society demands: critical thinking, effective communication, and the ability to solve complex problems while working in teams,” Downs observed. “As we move deeper into the 21st century’s third decade, a generation of future Runnin’ Bulldogs will be that much better prepared to make positive and lasting differences for their professions and for their communities.”

For more information about 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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