Fall semester enrollment exceeds expectations

IUS Horizon

IU Southeast has had a 3.9 percent increase in student enrollment this semester. The increase has exceeded the enrollment management plan’s budgeted goal by 400 percent.

“Two years ago we started an enrollment management plan and our goal was 50 students per year for the next 10 years,” Anne Skuce, director of Admissions and assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Management, said.

According to the numbers reported by the Admissions office, 6,241 students were enrolled at IU Southeast for the 2007-2008 fall semester. This semester that number has jumped to 6,482.

Of the 241 new enrollments, 185 are undergraduate students and 90 are graduate students, with freshmen showing the largest increase of 13.4 percent.

“We had a bigger increase than any of the other IU campuses,” Gilbert Atnip, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said.

Skuce and Atnip both said they think there are two major reasons the campus has seen an increase: the lodges and the economy.

Although Skuce said she feels campus housing has contributed, she really does not know and would like to survey the students to find out if campus housing affected their decision to enroll at IU Southeast.

“Eighty percent of the students living in the lodges are first-time freshmen,” Skuce said.

Skuce also said a majority of the first-time freshmen are from the Southern Indiana area and she is not sure if the students would have chosen IU Southeast even without on-campus housing.

Atnip said he also believes part of the increase was due to the lodges even though he does not have proof.

“We have heard from high school counselors for some time that if we had housing more students would come here,” Atnip said.

As for the economy, Skuce said historically you can almost predict education on the economy when the economy is tight.

Skuce said IU Southeast’s tuition cost has increased by 5 percent while other colleges have increased their costs by 10 percent or more.

“Families are thinking about increasing costs. IUS has remained reasonable compared to other schools in our area. They are also savvier about making selections for students to stay closer to home,” Skuce said.

Not only has the increase in tuition played a role, but Skuce said many companies are facing cutbacks and employees are losing their jobs.

She said a lot of companies are offering tuition packages to employees who are facing a layoff.

“It may very well be when the economy is tight people don’t work as much and it frees up time to go back to school,” Atnip said.

With this increase in enrollment also comes a need to add courses to accommodate the influx of students.

Skuce and Atnip both said the Admissions office works closely with the Academic Affairs to make sure courses and class times are in place to meet student needs.

“We want slow, steady growth to make sure we have the infrastructure in place,” Skuce said.

Skuce said although on-campus housing and the state of the economy may have contributed to the increase in enrollment, the admissions office works very hard to recruit students.

Skuce said the Admissions office employees attend college fairs, host open houses and first-generation student programs on campus, offer tours of campus twice a day and visit high schools in Indiana and Kentucky. They also have a special program for high school guidance counselors and outreach programs for younger students who are part of the 21st Century Scholar program.

“Overall we were thrilled and surprised by the increase in enrollment and we are anticipating level growth for future semesters,” Skuce said.

Staff Writer