HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - William Carey University was one of the hardest places hit by the EF-3 tornado on Jan. 21, but despite the damage, spring enrollment rates are up.
The rates are up 1.1 percent from the 2016 spring semester.
University's Provost Scott Hummel credits this increase with the school's sense of community.
"It really is a Carey family," Hummel said. "The Carey's family's been strong...and back."
After five buildings were destroyed, including two dorms, the school is back stronger than ever.
The 1.1 percent increase translates to about 50 students.
Freshman Nick Montana is part of the statistic. He transferred to Carey a week after the tornado hit.
"It feels like it hit it pretty dead on," said Montana, describing the tornado damage. "They're definitely working hard to get it right back to where it was."
Transferring has been an adjustment for Montana, but he credits the students and professors with making him feel more comfortable at his new school.
"Every one here is very nice," Montana said. "Very down to earth, Christian based. Everyone's very loving, very open."
Montana is planning to graduate from Carey in three years with a mathematics degree.