Wilmington University will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Today, the University is on the cusp of a change in leadership that will see the rise of Delaware’s first female African-American university president, and WilmU will soon open a new North Wilmington location, its seventh site in the state of Delaware.
The institution’s steady rate of growth hit full speed in the last decade. Certainly, that success is great for WilmU and the 1,600 Delawareans the University employs. However, a hard look at the numbers—from enrollment to alumni employment rates—reveals that the success of Wilmington University also has a positive and far-reaching impact on the state of Delaware and its residents.
When asked for her take on the University’s winning formula, Senior Vice President Dr. Erin DiMarco says: “I see Wilmington University’s success as a result of intimately understanding the needs of our unique student body and being tirelessly committed to meeting those needs through everything we do.”
Serving a Unique Student Base
Each year, Wilmington University educates more Delaware residents than the other four-year, higher education institutions in the state combined.
The WilmU mission revolves around making higher education accessible and affordable to all who seek it. While more than 21,000 students attend the University to broaden their minds, increase their real-world skills and improve their earning potential, the vast majority of WilmU attendees fall under the heading of “nontraditional” students. According to The National Center for Education, nontraditional students meet one of seven characteristics: they have delayed enrollment into post-secondary education; attend college part-time; work full-time; are financially independent for financial aid purposes; have dependents other than a spouse; are single parents; or do not have high school diplomas. These students have needs that are decidedly different from those of traditional college students, and WilmU seeks to serve them. How? Through an open-admissions policy, coupled with unrivaled flexibility and affordability.
WilmU’s admissions policy keeps the door open to any students who are serious about changing their lives and improving their communities through higher education. Indeed, admission is guaranteed for most WilmU programs, and standardized test scores such as SAT, GRE or GMAT, are not required—a testament to the University’s forward-facing gaze. The focus is on students’ boundless potential and future successes.
At a time when national student loan debt has hit an all-time high of $1.11 trillion, affordability is a key concern for adult learners, and Wilmington University proves that a private university education does not have to carry a burdensome price tag.
In a comparison of 24 regional four-year, private, nonprofit universities, Wilmington University is the most affordable at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In fact, WilmU’s undergraduate tuition is four times lower than its average regional competitor’s (per 12-credit semester). This makes it no surprise that WilmU graduates leave school on substantially better financial footing than many of their private university peers. Many graduate from WilmU with no student debt, and those who do average only $15,000—60 percent less than the national average—a considerable advantage in the current economic climate.
Working adults require the flexibility of evening, weekend and online classes. By providing these options, as well as more than 150 career-oriented degree and certificate programs that can be completed in the classroom or 100 percent online, Wilmington University makes it possible for its students to advance in their careers while maintaining full-time employment. For WilmU students, higher education does not require a loss of full-time salary.
“Education shouldn’t be a one-time deal. We should continue to learn throughout our lives. Wilmington University makes that possible.” — U.S. Senator Tom Carper
Educating Delawareans, Improving Delaware Lives
Consider this: More than 27,500 Delaware residents hold degrees from Wilmington University. Currently, four out of five WilmU undergrads are Delaware residents, and in recent years, the University has generated 60 percent of the master’s-level degrees earned in the state.
WilmU graduates permeate the First State, and are hired by top, local employers, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Dover Air Force Base, AstraZeneca and the State of Delaware, to name just a few.
Chances are you live or work beside a WilmU graduate. Chances are, the teacher educating your child or the nurse caring for your loved one is a WilmU grad.
In fact, 56 percent of Delaware elementary school teachers hold WilmU degrees and 91 percent of K-12 school leaders in Delaware schools have attended Wilmington University. Now known as “Delaware’s Teaching College,” the WilmU College of Education has been the higher education choice of eight of the last ten Delaware Teachers of the Year, including the last six consecutive award winners.
Healthcare is another area where WilmU grads shine. More than 2,400 Delaware registered nurses hold a BSN, MSN or DNP degree from WilmU, and the University enjoys cooperative relationships with leading healthcare providers including Christiana Care Health System, Nemours Children’s Health System, Bayhealth, and Beebe Healthcare. The University’s faculty and graduates are consistently among those recognized annually as Delaware’s Top Nurses.
In addition to offering acclaimed education programs in business and technology, the University has a special dedication to degree programs related to careers in public service. Through degrees and certificates in homeland security, criminal justice, family counseling and military studies, among others, the WilmU College of Social and Behavioral Sciences educates many of the state’s first responders and public servants, including police, fire, EMT and active-duty military. And the University was honored to facilitate the higher education of Delaware public safety professionals through previous four-year scholarship programs.
In short, the benefits of a WilmU degree don’t stop with the degree holder. WilmU degrees directly improve the lives of Delawareans—from our youth in school, to our vulnerable ill, to our citizens in need of assistance or protection, and beyond.
“A number of folks who’ve served with me in county government and in the Senate, on my staff and in my community, are both graduates and adjunct faculty of Wilmington University. They have benefited from the way the University has made high quality education affordable and accessible for working adults.” — U.S. Senator Chris Coons
Every Student Matters
It’s interesting to note that 79 percent of Wilmington University students transfer credit from other institutions. In other words, they start on their education path elsewhere and then make the choice to continue their journeys at WilmU.
Students are drawn to the skills-centered approach and practitioner faculty, as well as the opportunity for internships and other work-integrated learning experiences at Delaware companies. WilmU keeps motivated students in the First State, and that infusion of talent is beneficial for all Delawareans.
While the University’s leadership is gratified by the positive impact WilmU and its graduates have on our state, they know that broad-level
success hinges upon their focused commitment to the singular success of each student.
As incoming University President Dr. LaVerne Harmon states: “Every student matters. We take each of their journeys to heart. Affordable, quality education should be available to all who seek it, and we take that core value very seriously.”