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How NCWU Increased Enrollment and Retention with LRAPs

January 19, 2023

North Carolina Wesleyan University, a private university in Rocky Mount, NC, experienced a 12% enrollment increase in new incoming students and saw a boost in retention for Fall 2022.

NC Wesleyan University works with Ardeo to offer their incoming freshmen a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). They launched their custom LRAP – the NCWU Repayment Initiative for Student Education R.I.S.E. LRAP – for the 2021-22 cohort.

For Fall 2022, NCWU:

  • Increased freshmen enrollment by 12%.
  • Saw a record year on retention from their first LRAP cohort.
  • Decreased their discount rate.

Dr. Evan Duff, President of NC Wesleyan University, said they began considering LRAPs as an enrollment tool at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic began early 2020.

“We wanted to create a differentiator, a strategic advantage over our competition … We wanted [our students] to be free to make the choice to further their education without a lot of doubt about how they could afford to do it. Those were the two main factors – one of it was institutional, strategic advantage, but the other one truly was about supporting our students and the types of students we serve.”


– Dr. Evan Duff, President, NCWU

They launched the program broadly later in the cycle for the 2021-22 cohort, but it was the following year NCWU started promoting their LRAP early and saw a significant impact in their fall results.

In addition to the 12% increase in freshmen enrollment, Dr. Duff said they looked at their freshman retention, and of the students who accepted their LRAP award, they retained at a rate above 80% – which was higher than their traditional fall-to-fall freshman retention rate.

In 2019, the institution made a commitment to decrease their discount rate each year. Dr. Duff said the LRAP program has been a part of their ongoing initiatives to reach that goal, and that they have seen success in decreasing their discount rate.

“The NCWC R.I.S.E LRAP has helped me realize that the school cares for you even after you graduate, making sure you are taken care of.”


– Davon D., NCWU R.I.S.E. LRAP Recipient

What are Loan Repayment Assistance Programs? Want to deep-dive into North Carolina Wesleyan University’s enrollment success and LRAP strategies? Watch our recent webinar with Dr. Evan Duff here.

North Carolina Wesleyan University is one of more than 200 colleges and universities that have used Ardeo’s LRAPs to enroll more students and increase access to higher education. Explore our Case Studies to see how other institutions offer the program to meet their institutional goals.