President's Column

Enrollment Report

Click for the Fall Semester 2014 Enrollment Report. There are certain highlights as well as areas of concern. New student enrollment (freshmen and transfers) is 5.3 percent ahead of last year. Special thanks to the offices of admission and global education for bringing in a strong class. The ACT average for new freshmen is 23.3 and the average high school GPA is 3.53. The total undergraduate headcount is down from last year by 3.57 percent. This reflects both a smaller pool of students eligible to return and it also reflects a drop in our retention rate. Residence halls occupancy likewise is down, reflecting the higher attrition rate and more upper-class students choosing to live off campus. A retention analysis is underway to understand better the profile of students who did not return.

When reviewing the enrollments for the Center for Adult Learning (CAL), it is difficult to compare program counts with last year due to shifts from face-to-face to online. Nonetheless, as I reported at the university forum, CAL headcount is down 55 students, or 11 percent. On the brighter side, graduate enrollments are ahead by 118 students, or 23.7 percent. The MBA program and new programs for professional educators show healthy increases in enrollments. When comparing graduate programs in nursing, it’s best to combine the MSN and the DNP enrollments as there is an intentional shift from the master’s to the DNP program. I appreciate the efforts of our faculty and staff in CAL and in all graduate programs who have worked hard to adjust programs and intensify recruitment efforts.

Total headcount enrollment is 2,746, slightly above last year’s census of 2,729. These enrollment numbers will necessitate adjusting various revenue and expense lines in the budget for presentation and approval by the Board of Trustees on Monday, Oct 6. Net revenues from tuition will certainly be below projections. Nonetheless, we expect to achieve a balanced budget for the fiscal year.

Higher education continues to face significant challenges as demographics of traditional age students change and as working adults consider many more choices of courses and program delivery. The cost and value proposition will continue to be emphasized as we advance the new strategic plan, and we must remain focused on recruitment and retention. 

University Recognition Committee

The University Recognition Committee will resume its monthly meetings in early October. Volunteers wishing to renew their appointment or new members wishing to serve should contact Sheila Severson by Friday, Sept. 19.

Pax et Bonum,

Rick Artman