Enrollment tops 6,000

September 27, 2013

New student pack Webb Hall on the Emporia State Campus on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, the day they moved into campus residence halls. The university reported a Fall 2013 enrollment of 6,033, an increase of nearly 3 percent from a year ago.

A jump in new graduate students, an increase in the size of the freshman class and significant improvement in retention rates from freshmen to sophomores combined to give Emporia State University the largest enrollment increase of the Regent universities.

Emporia State University topped the 6,000 mark on the 20th day of classes — Sept. 16. The enrollment total of 6,033 was an increase of nearly 3 percent from the 20th day of Fall 2012.

A collaborative spirit across campus was key to the growth.

“It’s a concentrated effort by faculty, staff and students as partners in the enrollment management of the entire campus,” said Dr. James Williams, vice president for student affairs, who is charged with enrollment management.

The effort also extended beyond the Emporia State campus.

“Let’s take a moment to thank our entire Hornet Nation who helped with student recruitment,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, president of Emporia State University. “Our students who participated in Postcard Palooza, the Emporia community members who made phone calls during the Hornet Telethon and our alumni at Hornet Nights.

“They all worked to bring new Hornets to campus this fall.”

Components of the successful strategy include new initiatives in marketing to recruit students for all programs and in new student experiences and other programs to increase retention and launching a capital campaign at the Emporia State University Foundation to increase scholarship funds.

“A special note of thanks to the Emporia State Foundation for raising private dollars to expand our scholarship programs,” Shonrock said. “We will now and forever continue to raise private dollars to support our enrollment strategies.”

Already, the Now and Forever campaign has raised $17.85 million of its $45 million goal, including gifts of $40,000 from Capital Federal Foundation to double the amount awarded to the Capital Federal Scholars, $48,000 from best-selling author James Patterson to fund education scholarships, $250,000 from the estate of alumnae Mildred Fulhage to fund music scholarhips and more than $600,000 from Emporians Bobbi and Steve Sauder for scholarships and other programs in Athletics.

“On Day 1, I met with Enrollment Management, the Foundation and Marketing and said we have to concentrate on this,” recalled Shonrock, who took his post Jan. 3, 2012. “After 20 months, it’s paying off.”

Statistics collected on the 20th day of classes show there has been growth across campus:

  • New graduate students increased nearly 20 percent from Fall 2012.
  • New freshmen rose nearly 12 percent in the same time period.
  • At 73 percent, retention — measured by the number of freshmen in Fall 2012 who returned in Fall 2013 — rose more than 4 percent from the baseline set by Fall 2010 freshmen.
  • Undergraduates majoring in elementary education showed high growth — 12 percent in one year.
  • On the graduate side, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences saw the greatest gain of students at 43 percent, thanks largely from a 151 percent increase in students enrolled in the online mathematics master’s degree program.

The growth of the student body is visible on campus. With 100 more students in the residence halls, which are filled, the Memorial Union buzzes with activity throughout the day as on- and off-campus students are eating at the Hornets Nest or Hornet Express or grabbing coffee at Buzzcotti, studying individually or in groups.

“The buzz is here,” said Shonrock. “We have momentum and we are continuing to move forward.”

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