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Wilberforce University an Institution Situated at the Intersection of a Noteworthy History and a Promising Future.


Information on cost, academic programs, accreditation, special services, campus contacts, refund policies, Return of Funds to Title IV, and procedures for officially withdrawing are available in the University Catalog at these locations:

  • Cost of Education
  • Academic Programs (pgs. 85-140)
  • Accreditation (p. 5)
  • Academic Regulations (pgs. 54-83)
  • Institutional Refund Policy (p. 43)
  • Return of Funds to Title IV (p. 47)
  • Procedures for Officially Withdrawing (p. 68)
  • General Information on physical facilities (pgs. 12-13)

Wilberforce University is a four-year accredited liberal arts institution.

We offer 21 academic concentrations in:

  • business
  • communications
  • computing and engineering sciences
  • humanities
  • natural sciences
  • social sciences

Within the framework of the University’s Adult and Continuing Education Program, we present Reaching Infinite Success through Education (RISE). This initiative caters to individuals seeking to attain their Bachelor of Science degree in organizational management, health and human services, or information technology.

Wilberforce University is the nation’s oldest private, historically black University owned and operated by African Americans. Its roots trace back to its founding in 1856, a period of American history marred by the physical bondage of people of African descent. It was also a period when the education of African Americans was not only socially prohibited but was illegal. There was nothing about the prevailing social and cultural ethos of the era that suggested that African Americans might or should be taught or could learn. Yet a powerful idea assumed life and Wilberforce University was born. The founding of Wilberforce University represented a bold, audacious and visionary example of what could happen when men and women of goodwill transcended race and the prevailing social and cultural constructs and norms to pursue a noble purpose.

Wilberforce University was named for the great eighteenth century abolitionist, William Wilberforce who said “We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible… So, we will do them anyway.” It was this can-do spirit that infused Wilberforce University with strength to persevere, and the institution met with early success through 1862. The outbreak of the Civil War forced the school to temporarily close its doors. This short set back did not deter the institution for long. In March 1863, Daniel A. Payne a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal church, negotiated to purchase the and buildings, and the University was re-incorporated in July 10, 1863. Bishop Payne opened the doors of the university with six students and a debt of $10,000 and became the first person of African descent to be the President of an American Institution of higher learning. Wilberforce University prospered as young African Americans sought to educate themselves in the ending of the Civil War promised a new social order. On April 21, 1865, a headline in the New York Times announced, that Wilberforce University was Destroyed by Fire. Yet, Wilberforce recovered, endured, and continued to grow. Throughout its 167-year history, Wilberforce University has demonstrated a formidable spirit of resilience and triumph and has never wavered from its sacred duty to educate and enrich its students.

Wilberforce University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education which accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, comprised of 19 states, including Ohio.

To contact The Higher Learning Commission:
Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1411
Phone: 800.621.7440 / 312.263.0456 | Fax: 312.263.7462 |

Message from the president of Wilberforce University

Recently, Wilberforce University received notice from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) that placed the University on Notice. As indicated in the letter from the Commission, HLC took this action because it determined that the Institution was at risk of being out of compliance with the following criterion – Core Component 3.C (Sufficiency of faculty and staff), 4.C (Persistence, retention, and completion outcomes), 5.B (Resource base), and 5.C (Systematic and integrated planning and improvement). The institution is also out of compliance with Assumed Practices D.3 (Future financial projections), and D.4 (Effective systems for collecting and analyzing data). While on Notice, the Institution remains accredited, and it has the opportunity to remedy the issues that led to the sanction.”

Like many small colleges and universities, the recent COVID pandemic created enrollment and fiscal challenges that led HLC to take this action. However, in the months since the HLC team visited the campus, the University has made significant progress. For example, new student enrollment has reached a ten-year high, and student retention has improved to 71%. In large part due to these factors, overall enrollment is at one of its highest points since 2008. This played a major role in the University’s decision to start construction on a new apartment complex to house the students. In addition, the University is operating with a balanced budget that includes a projected surplus.

In the spring of 2024, the University will host an HLC on-site team. The University looks forward to HLC removing the sanction of Notice at its November 2024 HLC meeting. In the meantime, the University continues an evolving process of consolidating a number of low-enrolled degree programs, employing data-driven processes in planning and evaluation, and increasing operating resources by optimizing efficiencies.

If you have any additional questions please contact:

Dr. Michael Self, the University’s Accreditation Liaison Officer, at (937) 971–4048.

For more details about the status of the Notice please see the disclosure statement which is linked below.

Wilberforce University Public Disclosure Statement of Status, please click here.

Higher Education Act - Annual Notice

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (HEA98) requires institutions to provide annual notice to enrolled students of the availability of the following consumer information:


It is the established policy of Wilberforce University not to tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment by or against any individual or group of individuals for reasons of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, military status, sexual orientation gender identity and expression, etc. The university is fully committed to providing equal opportunities in all employment-related activities, educational programs, and other activities of the institution. Any person who is subjected to conduct that creates a discriminatory, intimidating or harassing environment should report the Office of Human Resources, (937) 708-5798.


It is the policy of Wilberforce University to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities. If you would like to request such accommodations because of a physical, mental, or learning disability, please contact the Office of Student Academic Support Services.

Visit their website at Office of Student Academic Support Services or call (937) 708-5257.

View the accommodations policy at  Wilberforce University Reasonable Accommodations Policy and Process


Information on rights and procedures for inspection, correction, and disclosure of information in the student’s record are student rights.  Click this link FERPA to view Department of Education FERPA website.  Wilberforce University FERPA information is published in the University Catalog. You may obtain a copy by contacting the Office of the Registrar.

Visit their website at Office of the Registrar or call (937) 708-5736.


Description of student aid program, application procedures and eligibility criteria, and rights and responsibilities of students receiving financial assistance. Student financial aid information is Information is available by contacting the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Visit their website at Student Financial Services or call (937) 708-5727.


Statistics concerning reported crimes occurred on campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters.  To receive a copy of the report, please contact Campus Police.

Visit their website at Campus Police  or call (937) 708-5701.

View the current annual report at Annual Security & Fire Safety Report.


Information on Wilberforce University’s intercollegiate athletics programs: intercollegiate varsity teams; number of participants; operating expenses; gender, status, and salary of all coaches; revenue generated; funds spent on athletic student; and recruiting expenditures for both men’s and women’s teams.

View the current survey at Annual Equity in Athletic Disclosure Act Survey.


HEOA Sec. 488(a)(1)(E) amended HEA Sec. 485(a)(1) (20 U.S.C. 1092(a)(1)): added HEA Sec. 485(a)(1)(U): HEOA amendment effective August 14, 2008: “Institutions must make available to current and prospective students the retention rate of certificate- or degree-seeking, first-time, undergraduate students as reported to IPEDS.

Retention Rate

The First-time Full-time Freshmen Retention Rate reported in IPEDS Fall 2021-Fall 2022 for the Fall 2022 Enrollment Survey:  70%

Retention & Graduation Rates
Six Year Completion-Graduation Rates Report – All Undergraduates
Six Year Completion Rates- Student Athletes
Student Body Diversity Report 2019-2021
2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, & 2010



Wilberforce University is dedicated to resolving all student complaints in a fair and timely manner. Complaints that cannot be resolved by working with the relevant office or department should be addressed in writing to

Please be sure to include:

  1. Your name and student # ID
  2. Your email address or other preferred contact method
  3. A description of the circumstances and the steps taken to resolve the issue with the relevant office or department.


Wilberforce University student complaint process

Wilberforce University provides students with various options for filing complaints and grievances, depending on the nature of the issue and the student’s level of involvement.

In the academic context, undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to address any disputes or grievances by first discussing them with the relevant individuals, such as the course instructor. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, the student is advised to escalate the matter to the Provost and then the University.

If the complaint remains unresolved, students are encouraged to file a formal grievance with the Academic Affairs.

Wilberforce University must ensure that it handles students’ concerns, complaints, and grievances in a fair and timely manner.

Channels for filing complaints and grievances are available, including:

1. Student Engagement: The Student Engagement’s Center for Academic Support and Student Success is dedicated to assisting students in navigating Wilberforce University’s structure and resolving issues they encounter at the university. Their goal is to empower students to overcome obstacles and enhance their educational experience, preparing them for both the university community and life beyond college. Students may contact

2. Human Resources: Students can file complaints against any staff or faculty member with the Office of Human Resources. Complaints typically involve matters such as sexual misconduct or discrimination and are investigated in accordance with Human Resources policies and procedures.

3. Office of University Compliance and Integrity and Anonymous Reporting Line: Students can report complaints involving other students, faculty, or staff to the Office of University Compliance and Integrity. The office houses dedicated compliance investigators and oversees the university’s investigative infrastructure. It coordinates with various units, including Student Conduct, Human Resources, Internal Audit, Legal Affairs, Office of Institutional Equity, Academic Affairs, Police, and compliance teams in Athletics, Information Security, the Medical Center, and Research Compliance. The office also manages the university’s anonymous reporting hotline called EthicsPoint and ensures that student complaints made through that channel are addressed by the appropriate unit based on the nature of the allegation.

4. Office of the Bursar: For complaints regarding financial accounts, students can contact the Office of the University Bursar. Additionally, for complaints about private student loans and servicers of federal student loans, students may reach out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

5. Online learning complaints: If a student has a complaint related to consumer protection laws covered by the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), they should first file the complaint with Wilberforce University for resolution. If the issue remains unresolved, the student can then contact the SARA Portal Entity here.

These various avenues are in place to ensure that students have accessible and appropriate means to address their concerns and seek resolutions within the Wilberforce University Community.

Wilberforce University embodies six(6) core values that undergird all decisions critical to accomplishing the university’s mission:

Our Students

Our Students are the center of our existence; respect, spiritual values and commitment to their educational success is our priority.


We are an African Methodist Episcopal Church University that believes in the Living God; we embrace Christian principles as our foundation.

Christian Principles

Ethics, integrity, and honesty, as exhibited in the Christ of Scripture, are an essential part of our spiritual growth and permit us to develop our relationships with God and one another.

Quality Education

We will provide a living-learning environment with excellent teaching and a challenging curriculum.

Social & Community Responsibility

We are devoted to serving our community through personal and institutional outreach consistent with our core values.

History and Tradition

We embrace and cherish our history and take responsibility for our future and for distinguishing ourselves through the 21st century and beyond.

© Wilberforce University - All Rights Reserved.
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