Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

September 17, 2009

Goshen College enjoys spike in enrollment

Community colleges and public universities may be expecting significant increases in enrollment this fall, but they are not the only educational institutions bucking the economic downturn.

Last week, Goshen College Registrar Stan Miller reported a first-time freshmen class of 238 students, the largest for the college in 27 years. There were 239 students in 1982. It is a 39-percent increase over last year’s incoming class. The college has averaged 210 students in its first-year class the past 20 years. The registrar also reported a head count of 974 students in the undergraduate program and a total headcount of 1,017 students, including graduate programs.

“We have much to be thankful for as this school year begins, especially as we have exceeded our own recruitment goals,” said Goshen College President James E. Brenneman. “I am thrilled by this large group of wonderful and varied students who have joined us, and look forward to the ways they will bring their energy, passions and ideas to enhance this Christ-centered community of passionate learners, compassionate peacemakers, servant leaders and global citizens.”

The Goshen College enrollment team attributes the positive numbers to many factors. In this economy it appears students are looking to stay closer to home to save money on travel costs and to increase convenience. However, GC has been successful in getting students from out-of-state to come to the mennonite-based college. Megan Schlabaugh, a first-year student from Kalona, Iowa, said that going to Iowa Mennonite High School made coming to Goshen College a natural fit.

“I just felt really comfortable here,” Schlabaugh said, adding that she has an older sister that is also a student at Goshen, but admits she “would have come here regardless.”

Administers said the college — the only residential liberal arts college in Elkhart County — had taken several steps over the past year to ensure desired recruitment in the midst of unprecedented economic times. They pushed students to apply sooner to get a better understanding of what their financial aid package might be compared with other colleges.

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