Wilson College Officials Dispel Myths

Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:41 pm Herald Mail

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Wilson College officials met with local business leaders Tuesday to dispel some myths about the college.

“We wanted to make sure people were aware of the resources that are here at Wilson College and dispel any of the myths that are out there,” said Eric Michael, director of Wilson’s master of education program. Many believe Wilson is an expensive, elite institution, one of many myths about Wilson, Michael said.

Mary Ann Naso, Wilson’s vice president for enrollment, said Wilson recently reduced its tuition.

“We lowered it (tuition) by 17 percent, which translates to $5,000,” Naso said. “So students entering Wilson this coming fall will be paying $23,745 in tuition.”

However, with the financial package, Naso said the average tuition is less than $15,000.

L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., asked why the college doesn’t advertise the $15,000 tuition price upfront.

Naso said the college’s job is to show the value of the college upfront.

“Our average class size is 13 students. You’re getting every penny that you’re paying for,” Naso said. “There are no teaching assistants. Faculty members know the students.”

She said the median family income of parents for students coming into Wilson is $74,833.

That dispels the second myth that Wilson is only for wealthy girls with horses, Michael said.

Most people look at Wilson as offering programs for just veterinary tech, equestrian sciences and animal sciences, but Wilson offers much more, he said.

“We want to make sure that Wilson is on the radar screen,” Michael said.

Wilson has 25 majors and 41 minors.

Carolyn Hart, Wilson’s program director of nursing, joined the discussion by introducing the college’s new registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing program, or RN to BSN.

She joined Wilson last September and said her sole purpose was to bring nursing to Wilson.

“We are starting an RN to BSN program that opens in the summer,” she said.

Hart had her first recruiting day last week and said she already has 10 people on board to fill out an application.

“I think it just speaks to what’s needed here in the community,” Hart said.

“We are doing the RN to BSN online because that is what suits most nurses’ schedules,” she said.

Hart said the college is already looking ahead to a master’s program, and an RN to MSN program.

James Hay, Wilson’s assistant professor of accounting, discussed a new master’s degree program in accounting, as well as a 3+1 program, which allows students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting in just four years.

“It’s actually cheaper than getting the BS in accounting in four years,” he said

The college will admit male residential students to the liberal-arts college this fall.

“It is a co-ed world — to open the doors to young men, I think, was a very important thing for this institution to do. Whether some people were not happy with it or not, the reality is they were not sending their daughters here,” Naso said.

David G. Sciamanna, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, asked about enrollment projections.

“We have over 900 applications (right now for the freshman class). All of last year, we had 500.

We’re hoping to enroll 160 students up from 100” (to the traditional undergraduate college), Naso said.

In five years, college officials would like to see enrollment figures at 600 to 800, she said.

Michael said Tuesday’s meeting was beneficial, and he asked that the dialogue continue.

“Sometimes you don’t realize what’s in your own backyard. There are a lot of things that are overlooked,” he said. “Some of it is Wilson’s fault, and we are trying to get that word out of the changes we’ve made in both program and offerings.”