Goshen bounces back in a year of lower enrollments

Oct 3, 2016 by and

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In a down year for enrollment at many U.S. Mennonite colleges, universities and seminaries, Goshen (Ind.) College’s enrollment is up, returning to levels it last saw in 2013.

Layout 1Overall, two institutions reported enrollment gains, and six experienced losses.

The incoming class is Goshen’s largest since 2009, up almost 6 percent from last year. There are 870 total students, an increase of almost 4 percent. Graduate-level courses are up slightly, from 66 students to 70 in nursing, environmental education and business administration.

Holding steady

Enrollment is steady at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind. The 105 graduate students are up three from last year, though still below 2014’s recent high of 113 students.

A good portion of the students come from outside the United States. Twenty-two students represent 15 countries: Nepal, Ethiopia, Chile, Kenya, Japan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Germany, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Honduras, India, Australia and Canada. Six of those students take part online.

Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., is seeing near identical total enrollment to last year, down two students to 727. Undergraduate losses have been somewhat offset by graduate program gains.

Graduate programs saw the biggest growth, up 35 percent for a second year to 57 students. Much of that growth is due to last year’s addition of the master of science in nursing program, which has 15 students enrolled.

The 201 new students on the Hillsboro campus include 136 first-time freshmen and 65 transfer students. Full-time undergraduates are down from 539 last year to 519 this year.

Hesston (Kan.) College had growth in several areas, but total enrollment is down by eight students to 401. Full-time students have grown from 356 last year, to 382 students this fall. A new four-year nursing degree is drawing more full-time students.

The number of new Hesston students is up from 206 in 2015 to 215 this year. International students number 17 and make up 10 percent of the student body.

“We are seeing the fruits of several growth initiatives launched last year, including our bachelor’s in nursing program, athletic roster expansion, a new men’s golf program and an increase in staff for regional recruitment,” said Rachel Swartz­endruber Miller, vice president of admissions and financial aid.

Despite enrolling more new students this fall than a year ago, Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University’s overall enrollment shrunk by a little more than 1 percent. FPU reported new student goals were exceeded in all areas and attributed losses in traditional undergraduate and some graduate programs to California community and state colleges expanding class offerings after years of cutbacks.

More students live on campus. New “resident success” grants inspired growth from 410 students last year to 489 this year. There are 267 traditional freshmen, compared to 210 last year.

Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary grew by 11 to 148 students in master’s degree programs.

Enrollment at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., is down slightly from 1,908 to 1,880. Undergraduates are up from 1,224 to 1,260, but full-time undergraduates are down slightly from 1,087 to 1,081.

Decreases were located mainly in part-time graduate programs, particularly education. Across all graduate programs — including Eastern Mennonite Seminary — there are 512 students, down from 583 students a year ago.

Seminary enrollment is down from 133 students to 104. There are 31 full-time students after last year’s 36 full-time students. The Lancaster, Pa., campus is holding steady with 23 students, down a bit from 24 last year.

Bethel, Bluffton down

Enrollment is down more than 12 percent at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., falling from 525 students to 460. The change comes a year after nearly 9 percent growth, up from 483 students in 2014.

All but 17 students are full-time undergraduates. President Perry White said finances are a nationwide reason for a decline in student numbers across the board. “Paying for college is increasingly difficult,” he said in a news release.

Bluffton (Ohio) University’s enrollment is down almost 6 percent from 1,011 to 952. It has decreased five straight years since reaching 1,229 students in the fall of 2011 — a decline of 22.5 percent since that year.

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