Enrollment surges: more than 15,500 residential and 115,000 online

This fall, both Liberty University’s campus and online program have experienced a surge in students with approximately 15,500 residential and more than 115,000 online students enrolling. Additionally, roughly 18,000 are enrolled in LU Online Academy (LUOA). 

When Liberty was established in 1971, the university opened its doors to 154 college students, and in 1985, the founder of Liberty, Dr. Jerry Falwell, set a goal to enroll 50,000 students. In 2010, Dr. Falwell’s dream was accomplished as the university reached 50,000 students enrolled residentially and online. 

In an email interview, Liberty University Interim President Jerry Prevo wrote about Liberty’s enrollment expansion.

“Liberty has had tremendous growth because it has maintained its mission of training Champions for Christ, and as long as we hold to this mission, we will continue to see growth,” Prevo wrote. “Over the past five decades, Liberty has built strong academic programs while maintaining a full integration of the Christian faith into core academics. We continue to attract students from across the nation and around the world because of our completive academic quality. In addition, our athletic programs continue to enjoy growth and success, being highly competitive and placing Liberty University in the national spotlight.” 

Due to the growth Liberty is experiencing, some students are hoping for change on campus to accommodate the student body. Vivian Lam is one of those. 

“They definitely need to change the seating in the library. People, including myself, complain all the time about how hard it is to get a seat,” Lam said. “And even at the Rot, it’s still hard to find a seat.”

Liberty’s administration is paying attention, though, as Prevo also commented on the changes that were being made to the campus. 

“Planning is underway right now to produce a campus master plan to accommodate 50,000 students. Construction is already underway to build the nation’s most modern dining facility that will have over 120,000 square feet and seat 2,700 people under one roof,” Prevo wrote. “This will more than double our current capacity and streamline our food services for students. Liberty has another dorm planned for construction near the new dining hall as well as a parking garage that is planned to be built.”

Liberty is always looking for ways to better the university and its programs. Ron Kennedy, Liberty University’s executive vice president of enrollment management and marketing, wrote in an email interview about plans to add new residential and online programs. 

“We are consistently evaluating new programs and what is in demand in the workplace. As needs change within the workforce, Liberty wants to be able to meet those demands with new programs. We look at future job employment projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Kennedy wrote. “We compile a list of students’ needs as well as what we see in our research to evaluate which programs Liberty University Online might bring to the market.”  

To acknowledge each new victory seen on campus, Prevo referenced Dr. Falwell’s enrollment goal. 

“My friend, Dr. Falwell, had a God-sized vision for Liberty, and we are just now recognizing how big it was,” Prevo wrote. “I am thrilled that we get to see this with our own eyes. All of this and more is an answer to those prayers he prayed so long ago.”

Provost and chief academic officer of Liberty, Scott Hicks, said that Liberty’s goal has remained the same: to equip students to serve Christ in any field they enter post-graduation.

“At the end of the day, we want to equip our students from kindergarten to the post-graduate level to serve Christ in all professional fields and life in general with excellence and confidence,” Hicks said. “That’s what it means to train Champions for Christ.”

Napier is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter

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