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Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Brad Smith Highlights ‘Marshall for All’ and Increased Enrollment at the Latest Board of Governors Meeting

Marshall+President+Brad+D.+Smith
Courtesy of HerdNet
Marshall President Brad D. Smith

“We will grow students, not fees,” President Brad D. Smith said as he discussed the five student priorities that anchor the “Marshall for All, Marshall Forever” road map during the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 11. 

“The efforts have paid off,” Smith said. “As you have heard, we reversed a 13-year decline enrollment, and the Fall 2023 numbers are on track to come in at 4.5% in total headcount growth with full-time first-year freshmen up 13.7% year over year.” 

A strategic choice was made this past year to reduce metro pricing to be more competitive with the in-state tuition rates of Ohio and Kentucky colleges and universities, according to Smith.

The metro area was expanded to cover a 100-mile radius around Huntington, which drove the metro enrollment to 20% year over year, he said. 

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Furthermore, he discussed the 100 students who were welcomed into the “Marshall for All” program this fall, which is a partnership between the university, students, families, donors and alumni that allows students to earn their bachelor’s degrees debt-free. 

“We are super excited about kicking the program off and with the goal in 10 years that no student will graduate from Marshall University with any student loan debt,” Smith said. 

Three action items were also discussed and approved by the Board of Governors during the meeting. 

A second hangar was approved for the Bill Noe Flight School in Charleston.

“As the Bill Noe Flight School is continuing to grow in enrollment, the asset and facility must grow with it,” said H. Toney Stroud, the chief legal officer and general counsel. 

Construction of the 30,000-square-foot hangar is necessary to house the critical program assets, he said. 

The estimated construction cost will not exceed $15 million, he said, and funding for this hangar does not involve the University’s budget, as other sources of funding are being sought.

The purchase of a rotorcraft for the flight school was also approved. 

“Bill Noe has initiated a significant deal with Airbus, who controls about 55% of the aircraft market,” Stroud said. 

The new rotorcraft will come with a 10-year service, and Airbus will paint the exterior and design the interior for no additional cost and provide training for one pilot and one maintenance mechanic for the rotorcraft, he said. 

A new institute for cyber security, estimated to cost $45 million, was approved as the third action. The anticipated construction for the building will begin in the summer of 2024. 

“The institute for cyber security will support Marshall’s recruitment goals and provide a well-educated, multi-disciplinary talent pool, helping to attract, retain and perpetually grow West Virginia’s professional workforce,” Stroud said.

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