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Christian universities break enrollment records


Enrollment records keep falling at universities associated with Churches of Christ.
At least four universities — Harding, Lipscomb, Ohio Valley and Oklahoma Christian — report all-time high numbers of students this fall.
A fifth university, Faulkner, also expects a record, but final figures were not available, a spokeswoman said.
Elsewhere, enrollment topped 2,000 for only the second time at Freed-Hardeman University but fell 19 students short of a record.
Abilene Christian University also did not break a record. But ACU has one of its five highest enrollments in 102 years.
A roundup by university:
• Harding University, Searcy, Ark.
A 21st consecutive annual enrollment increase was no surprise at the largest university with Church of Christ ties. Enrollment hit 6,332 this fall — a 3.7 percent increase over last year.
“Harding’s reputation for academic excellence and its emphasis on spiritual development give us a real edge in the recruitment of students,” said Jim Carr, Harding’s executive vice president. “Many universities do one of those two well. Few emphasize both.”
• Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tenn.
Enrollment of 2,744 this fall represents a 7 percent increase over last year — the largest one-year jump in Lipscomb’s history.
“The past two years have been an exciting time of fast-paced growth and innovation at Lipscomb,” President Randy Lowry said. “Our students, faculty and staff are enthusiastic about the future, and newcomers are starting to recognize that enthusiasm, and they want to be a part of it.”
• Ohio Valley University, Vienna, W.Va.
A 5 percent increase over last year pushed enrollment to 575. It’s the fourth straight year that Ohio Valley has broken its previous record.
President James Johnson attributes the latest record to key steps taken in the past year.
“We increased our marketing efforts in a variety of local, regional and national mediums,” Johnson said. “We have also made a bigger effort to be more available to our surrounding communities. We continue to improve our academic offerings and facilities. We have hired new faculty based on national searches. And we have made a focused effort to improve student life.”
• Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma City.
Enrollment this fall is 2,258, a fourth straight annual record. Undergraduate enrollment rose 6.5 percent, while graduate enrollment climbed 5.7 percent.
“Our goal is to continue to bring the best and brightest here from around the globe and to prepare them to make a difference in the world,” President Mike O’Neal said. “They will receive first-rate academic training while being transformed for Christian faith, leadership and service.”
• Faulkner University, Montgomery, Ala.
“We know already we have record enrollment, but the final numbers are not available yet,” said Leigh Brannan, director of public relations and communications.
• Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson, Tenn.
Enrollment hit 2,011 this fall, up 42 students from last year. The record of 2,030 was set two years ago.
Admissions director Belinda Anderson credited the increase to faculty and staff and their assistance in recruiting and working to enhance academic offerings.
• Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas.
Fall enrollment is 4,698, one of the five best in ACU’s 102-year history, President Royce Money said. All five highs have occurred within the past seven years.
“ACU’s reputation as a high-quality, Christian university attracts students from around the world,” Money said. “We offer top programs in areas such as pre-med, business, journalism and education that draw many students beyond Texas and outside the U.S.”
At press time, enrollment figures were still pending at some Christian universities.

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