After five consecutive years of gaining new students, IU Southeast’s enrollment has slowed down this spring semester totaling 6904 students. However, it is still the third highest enrollment in the school’s history. IU Southeast’s enrollment peaked in the 2011-2012 school year with 7,256 students.
Tanlee Wasson, director of institutional research, said there are many factors that have impacted the drop of enrollment.
“The number of students graduating from high schools in our region has and will continue to decline over the next ten years,” Wasson said.
There have been new changes in legislation in Indiana, as well.
Now Indiana high school students have to attain the CORE 40 diploma to attend IU Southeast. IU Southeast cannot take any students who did not complete this diploma.
Another change in legislation is that teachers who receive a master’s degree in education are no longer being rewarded for it in the workplace. This makes for no incentive to get a master’s in education.
“This has severely impacted the enrollment in our graduate education program, which is down 15% from last year,” Wasson said.
Wasson said she also believes there is a correlation between the struggling economy and declining enrollment.
“Advisors contacted non-returning students in the summer and work was the second most common reason for leaving the institution. Transferring to another institution was the most common reason,” Wasson said.
The New Albany News and Tribune stated the unemployment rate in Clark and Floyd counties dropped slightly from 6.9 percent in October to 6.8 percent last month.
Wasson said there are new programs being implemented to encourage enrollment.
“The admission counselors visit all of the high schools in our Indiana and Kentucky region,” Wasson said.
Additionally, he said the counselors represent IU Southeast at college fairs and information nights.
“On-campus recruitment events include a fall and spring open house and three Steps to Success programs,” Wasson said.
During these events, prospective students can come in and receive a tour, which are offered twice a day, and meet with a counselor Monday-Friday.
“Once a student applies for admission, a new series of communication pieces begins. Contact is maintained with students until the first day of classes,” Wasson said.
Recruitment for transfer students is also being done.
Wasson said it includes spending time at Ivy Tech, Jefferson Community & Technical College, and Vincennes University Jasper.
IU Southeast will focus on extending First-Year Seminar, increasing amounts of scholarship money, and a liaison program where new students will stay in contact with a staff member to help them get through enrollment problems.
By RAYMOND SHUTT