Goshen College retention rate and full-time enrollees continue to climb

GOSHEN, Ind. — When Goshen College’s Class of 2008 arrived on campus for Orientation Weekend, Aug. 21-22, students and their parents came from Akron, Ind., and Akron, Pa.; from Aurora, Colo., and Aurora, Ore.; Bloomington, Ill., and Bloomington, Ind.; and Millersburg, Ohio and Millersburg, Ind. They also came from as near as three blocks away and as far as Vietnam.

Overall new student enrollment was 247 students, compared to 258 students last year, maintaining consistent levels of recruitment, with 169 first-year students and 74 transfer students among the total new enrollees.

Final statistics, released by Goshen College’s registrar’s office, showed a total headcount of 908 students enrolled at Goshen College for the fall 2004-05 semester, which includes an increase of 17 full-time enrollees over last year and a slight increase in total full time equivalency (FTE), from 834 to 838 students. The statistics include both full- and part-time traditional students and those taking courses or seeking degrees through with Goshen’s Division of Adult and External Studies.

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Andrea Cook said, “With stabilized enrollment, we look forward to adding to our student body in fall 2005. Currently we have 15 percent more students who have indicated interest in Goshen and new recruitment materials and a Web site redesign will articulate even more clearly the distinctive opportunities for Christ-centered higher education at Goshen College.”

The quality of incoming students to Goshen College continues to remain high. The Class of 2008 average grade point average is 3.5, with an average SAT score of 1140 and ACT score of 25. Among the Class of 2008 are four National Merit Finalists, 15 valedictorians or salutatorians. Fifty-five percent of the students were in the top 25 percent of their high school class and 80 percent were in the top 50 percent. Thirteen of this year’s class received the college’s highest academic and leadership award, the President’s Leadership Award. The class is from 91 high schools, 21 states and 18 countries, and includes four sets of twins.

One sign of student satisfaction is the increase in the retention rate of first-year students in returning for their sophomore year. As fall classes started on Aug. 25, 82.3 percent of last year’s first-year students were again taking classes. This is an increase from 81 percent last year and 76 percent during 2001-02. Nationally, ACT data reports that in 2001, 73.9 percent of students enrolled in four-year colleges returned to the same college for their sophomore year.

In one effort to address retention over the past several years, the college implemented an alerts process that monitors and supports students who may be at risk (for any number of reasons) and responds with intentional interventions to assist them toward success. The college has also worked to improve campus facilities, including renovations of the dining hall and residence halls, and the addition of a connector between halls which offers lounges, a coffee bar, study rooms, a laundry area, kitchens and a game area. By the fall of 2005, all 660 beds on campus will either be newly constructed or renovated during the previous two and a half years.

Vice President for Student Life Bill Born said, “Given these initiatives, it is encouraging to see increased retention from first to second year two years in a row. We hope to continue raising our retention rate, hopefully hitting the high 80s in the future.”

Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit http://www.goshen.edu/.

Editors: For more information, contact News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.

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