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Universities break enrollment records

What recession?
At least in terms of enrollment, most Christian universities seem to be weathering the economic downturn quite well, a survey by The Christian Chronicle found.
Enrollment is up at most — but not all — universities associated with Churches of Christ and hit record levels at some.
A roundup:
• Abilene Christian University in Texas has a record enrollment of 4,838. The total, which marks the first time ACU’s enrollment has topped 4,800, includes an increasing number of graduate students. “ACU’s reputation of academic excellence in an authentic Christian environment continues to attract students from around the world,” ACU President Royce Money said.
• Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould, Ark., has 172 students, down three from last year. “There is no doubt that the economy has affected our enrollment numbers negatively,” Crowley’s Ridge President Ken Hoppe said. “We do not see the unemployed seeking educational opportunity in our region.”
• Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala., has about 3,200 students, up 8.7 percent, spokeswoman Leigh Brannan said. “In the end, we experienced a very positive fall enrollment for adult programs, so it appears we benefited from the weak economy,” said Mark Hunt, a Faulkner assistant vice president.
• Florida College in Temple Terrace, Fla., has 467 students, down 7.5 percent. “We are pretty sure the economy has affected that,” said Ralph Walker, Florida College’s spokesman.
• Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., has 2,027 students, including 518 freshmen and transfer students — a record for new students, spokesman Jud Davis said. The total headcount is down slightly because Freed-Hardeman stopped counting high school students who take a course.
• Harding University in Searcy, Ark., posted a record enrollment for the 23rd consecutive year. With a student body of 6,613, Harding surpassed last year’s record of 6,510 students. “Having a record enrollment for the 23rd year in a row is a positive reflection on the university, especially in this economic climate,” Harding President David Burks said.
Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., has 3,418 students, up 11.9 percent from last fall. It’s the fourth straight annual enrollment increase at Lipscomb. “We believe that the 35 percent increase in enrollment that Lipscomb has experienced in just four years is a natural outgrowth of our very intentional response to underserved needs in the education marketplace and the energy that permeates our campus,” Lipscomb President Randy Lowry said.
Lubbock Christian University in Texas reports an enrollment of 1,906 students, up from 1,868 a year ago, spokeswoman Kelli Childre said.
Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va., has 480 students, down from 517 last fall. It’s the second year in a row of declining enrollment since a record headcount of 552 in 2007.
A 0.5 percent increase in fall enrollment gave Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City its second-largest student body in its history, with 2,172 students. “Considering the economic uncertainty and the financial crisis many families are facing, we feel this is a significant achievement and a testimony to the hard work by our faculty and staff,” Oklahoma Christian President Mike O’Neal said.
• Rochester College in Rochester Hills, Mich., has a combined enrollment of 881 for traditional and adult learning students. The number of residential students rose to 240, up 30 percent. There are 214 freshmen and transfer students, a 44 percent increase. “Numbers such as these are significantly higher than we had budgeted for in looking toward a new school year in Michigan’s bleak economic climate,” Rochester President Rubel Shelly said.

• Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas, stayed steady with 201 students this year, compared with 203 a year ago.

• York College in Nebraska has 430 students, up 8 percent from last year. An increase in York’s retention rate from 62 percent to 80 percent contributed to the increase. “It is also due to an increased effort by our admissions recruiters and coaching staff,” said Sue Roush, York’s spokeswoman.
Figures for some Christian universities were not available by press time.

  • Feedback
    Way to go ACU! Go Wildcats!
    Jordan Maples
    Preston Crest Church of Christ
    Denton, Tx
    October, 30 2009

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