University Realizes 14% Overall Single Year Enrollment Growth  Leading To Over 1100 Students Enrolled While Welcoming Largest Class of New Students On Record

Jacksonville, Florida – Overall enrollment at the newly named Edward Waters University (EWU) has increased by a stunning 14% as marked at the close of its fall registration period on Friday, August 27, 2021. The phenomenal single-year, double-digit percentage enrollment increase culminated in a final fall 2021 enrollment count of 1104 students at Florida’s first historically black college or university (HBCU) and first private institution of higher education—the highest overall enrollment the institution has seen in close to twenty years. Relatedly, the university simultaneously welcomed its largest class of new students on record as a total of 531 new students enrolled at the state of Florida’s and Jacksonville’s newest university, which represents a 27% increase in total newly enrolled students at EWU over fall 2020 and a 50% increase over fall 2019.

“This tremendous development for our university is further evidence of our continuing advancement and forward movement as a ‘destination institution’ of choice amongst parents and prospective students who are increasingly selecting Edward Waters for their higher educational future,” said Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., President and CEO of Edward Waters University.  

“We’re equally ecstatic that this year’s enrollment outcome is also indicative of substantial progress being made towards enhancing the retention of our Tiger students as this latest overall enrollment effort indicates that we were successful in retaining nearly 80% of our students from spring 2021 to fall 2021,” President Faison stated.  

Accordingly, and despite the challenges wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is experiencing a comprehensive institutional renaissance marked by remarkably rapid growth as this year makes the second consecutive year of increased total enrollment at EWU leading to an awe-inspiring 18% increase in overall student enrollment over the past two academic years (i.e., overall student enrollment increased by 4% in fall 2020 and by 14% in fall 2021). Accordingly, the university received nearly 7,000 applications for the current 2021-2022 academic year which represented a 17% increase in total applications received by the university over fall 2020.  

“This incredibly positive enrollment outcome was the result of a lot of really hard work by all of the members of our cross-institutional S.E.R.T (Strategic Enrollment and Retention Team) and particularly Mr. Kendrick Dunklin, our Executive Director of Enrollment Management whose team worked collaboratively to achieve this signature high overall and new student enrollment mark,” said EWU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Strategic Matriculant Services, Dr. Jennifer Price.

In addition, the overall competitive profile for this year’s newest collection of Tiger scholar students is equally notable as the average grade point average amongst the entering EWU Class of 2025 is an impressive 3.05, up from the reported 2.86 grade point average (GPA) of last year’s new student class.

Moreover, this fall the university is also excited to welcome its third consecutive cohort of high achieving students who are members of the “Gamma Cohort” of the EWU Honors College. This third iteration of twenty dynamically talented and academically gifted Tiger scholars earned an average 3.94 high school grade point average and includes a class valedictorian as well as a student who earned a nearly  6.0 gpa. Even more, amongst the 531 new students matriculating at EWU this fall are over 30 of the institution’s first ever graduate students who are enrolled in EWU’s new fully online Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree program. As a collective, the graduate students in EWU’s first ever graduate program boast an impressive series of resumes with an average undergraduate grade point average of 3.1, while hailing from locales from throughout the state of Florida and the country including Ohio, Texas, and Alabama.  

“After developing a comprehensive enrollment management and marketing plan that focused on retention and recruitment, we have met our enrollment goal for the fall 2021 semester. This grand accomplishment would not have been possible without the strategic direction of our superlative president & CEO, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr.,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Donna H. Oliver.

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“We are ready to greet this new class of both undergraduate and graduate students with the quality educational programs and academic opportunities that our returning students have come to expect and our new graduate students will begin to experience at Edward Waters University.  We are overjoyed at the number of students enrolled in our inaugural graduate studies program and we look forward to providing them with a graduate education that is “nulli secundus,” second to none,” said Provost Oliver.  

Propelled by a string of positively performative institutional developments over the past three years the university’s prolific enrollment growth and overall institutional ascendancy has been buttressed by significantly transformative achievements a sampling of which have included the following:

  • A transformational financial recovery and fiscal repositioning leading to a second consecutive year (i.e., FY 20 and FY 21) functioning without operational deficits for the first time in more than a decade;
  • Earning university status via the historic onboarding of the institution’s first-ever graduate degree program—an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the forthcoming promulgation of new academic degree programs in Computer and Information Science, Social Work, Forensic Science, as well as a dual-degree program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing;
  • In 2021, achieving a successful fifth-year comprehensive review by the university’s SACSCOC accrediting body, thereby keeping the university’s accreditation in good standing through 2025;
  • Securing membership as an NCAA Division II member for the first time in the 155-year history of the institution;
  • Establishment of the university’s first ever Honors College, Center for Undergraduate Research, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute for Law, Race, Social Justice, and Economic Policy;
  • Raising $3.1 million within the administration’s first 18-months representing an overall 30% increase in private gifts, pledges, and in-kind support to the university including 100% giving participation amongst EWU faculty and staff and an astounding 85% increase in total EWU Board of Trustee giving to the university;
  • Completion of nearly $10 million of capital, infra-structural, and technological campus upgrades – a sampling of which includes: the construction of the first ever on-campus athletic stadium, complete renovation of the campus STEM/Biology laboratory, outfitting of every university classroom with state-of-the-art SMART classroom technology, onboarding of the university’s first ever CRM and new global ERP system (fall 2021); completion of a multi-million dollar comprehensive renovation of the university’s largest student residential facility; and construction of a new student activity center (fall 2021).  


About Edward Waters University

Edward Waters University (EWU), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban institution of higher education which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWU was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the first private and independent institution of higher education in the State of Florida.