Wilson College changes attract new students


Wilson College opened its doors to male commuter students last fall, and three men enrolled. For fall 2014, residential male students are allowed, and interest in the Chambersburg college is up.

Brian Speer, vice president for marketing and communications at the former women-only institution, shared a progress report on Wilson initiatives at the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce breakfast Tuesday.

“Our applications are running twice what they typically do this time of year,” Speer said. “It’s an exciting time for people at the college.”

Twenty-five percent of the applications were from males, and female interest was also up.

Currently 17 percent of the 680 students are commuters, and 12 percent are male. Most of the latter are in the graduate programs. Speer said the student government would determine where the new male undergrads would live in a renovated residence hall.

“We want them comfortable with the arrangement,” he said of the student body.

Wilson had also adopted a debt buyback program that was the first of its kind in higher education. The college would pay up to $10,000 toward a student’s Stafford loans depending on academic and service requirements, including earning a diploma within four years. Tuition had also been reduced by $5,000 for next year.

Renovations were underway on campus, and new programs had been added, Speer continued. While switching to a co-ed liberal arts college had been controversial, he said the majority of the alumni now had a positive opinion of the charted path.