UNC Asheville Welcomes Record Incoming Class

The University of North Carolina Asheville recently welcomed its largest incoming class of new first-time students in the past four years, according to enrollment numbers as of its census date, calculated at the end of the second week of classes.

In all, 899 new degree-seeking students are busy pursuing their studies on the 360-acre campus nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and in the largest metropolitan area of Western North Carolina. This includes 630 new first-time students, 253 transfer students and 16 second-degree seeking students from 65 North Carolina counties, 27 states and 7 countries. 

A 90 percent retention rate for Spring 2023 students, the best in three years, contributed to the current overall enrollment of 2,907. In addition, more students are living on campus, with residence halls at 95 percent capacity.

The 24 percent year-to-year increase in new first-time students was supported by a record number of applications, which surged 28 percent from last year and 37 percent over the recent three-year average.

Long known for its commitment to access and affordability, this year’s incoming class at UNC Asheville includes high percentages of first-generation and Pell-eligible students. 

More than one quarter of new first-time students (28 percent) are first-generation, representing a 48 percent increase over last year. Even more, the number of Pell-eligible students nearly doubled from last year (increasing 97 percent), comprising more than one third (36 percent) of incoming first-time students. 

This is also one of the most diverse incoming classes. Year-to-year enrollment of first-time African American students increased 150 percent, and Hispanic or Latina/o student enrollment grew by 134 percent. As a result, the University now has a 21 percent overall enrollment of BIPOC students, the highest in the institution’s history. 

New UNC Asheville students were welcomed to campus with a host of Weeks of Welcome events.

Activities ranged from open houses and job fairs to trivia nights and karaoke. Beloved campus traditions like Convocation, the University’s ceremonial opening of the academic year, and Rockypalooza, a festival for the entire campus community with food, music, and games, rounded out the celebrations. 

While Interim Chancellor Kimberly van Noort is grateful for the success of this year’s recruitment effort, she’s not surprised.

“Our enviable location expands the four walls of our classrooms and offers exceptional opportunities for hands-on learning that directly address regional and global issues and provide clear pathways for impactful careers,” van Noort said.

“We ensure that every student has high-impact educational opportunities that prepare them for the jobs they will want throughout their careers,” she added, “and for careers that don’t yet exist and which they may themselves create.”


For more information about UNC Asheville, and to schedule a visit or apply, visit unca.edu.