Indiana University Northwest announced on Sept. 11 that its Fall 2009 enrollment numbers have jumped 16 percent from a year ago, for a total of 5,560 students. An official student census released this week showed that total credit hours taken at IU Northwest increased nearly 17 percent from a year ago, setting a record with 56,950 hours.
The final student headcount represented an increase of 766 students over IU Northwest’s Fall 2008 enrollment of 4,794 students. Credit hours increased by 8,214 over the Fall Semester 2008 total of 48,736.
Although this semester’s numbers marked a substantial increase both in students and credit hours, they were part of a continuing trend that had seen increases in both categories during Spring Semester 2009 and Fall Semester 2008. In the spring, student enrollment increased 4.7 percent over the previous year, while credit hours were up 7.9 percent. Last fall, although headcount had increased by just four students over 2007, credit hours jumped 3.2 percent.
Diane Hodges, Ph.D., vice chancellor for student affairs at IU Northwest, acknowledged the struggling economy as a primary motivating factor behind this year’s surge in students. But she also credited her division’s Office of Admissions with sustaining an ongoing, aggressive recruiting campaign specifically aimed at the traditional undergraduate market.
“I am sure that I speak for my colleagues across the campus when I say that we are thrilled with the significant enrollment increase for Fall 2009,” Hodges said. “While we understand that the dire state of the economy may have influenced many of this year’s students to attend college, I am pleased that students throughout Northwest Indiana recognize and appreciate the affordable and academically excellent IU education that is available to them at IU Northwest. Our fall enrollment, spearheaded by the fine work of our Admissions staff, is a testament to the dedication and industry of the entire campus community.”
This was the fifth consecutive year in which traditional undergraduate admissions had increased at IU Northwest. Last year, the university welcomed 769 first-time students to campus. This year, that number was 1,176, including freshmen and transfer students. IU Northwest also admitted 231 high school students into advanced-placement courses through a variety of dual-credit programs, including a new program at Crown Point High School that allows students to take college-credit courses taught by Crown Point faculty at the high school. Purdue Calumet is also involved with that program.
“We had a huge high-school enrollment this year,” said IU Northwest Director of Admissions Linda Templeton. “Dual credit has been a big thing for us. And we were up 23 percent in freshman admissions over last year, and up 17 percent in transfers, which are students that transfer to our campus from outside of the IU system.”
Templeton also acknowledged that the rough economy has given students of all ages increased incentive to seek college degrees.
“The good news is, people are getting education, whether for the first time or for a second career,” she said. “They need to get a good job out there in the future. Even though some people may have lost their jobs, they can get a college degree and then get a new and hopefully better job. And we’re excited to be a part of that.”
Total undergraduate enrollment at IU Northwest jumped 17 percent, with 4,879 students this year versus 4,168 in Fall 2008. More than 3,000 of this year’s undergraduates are full-time students, which Templeton said contributed greatly to the record number of credit hours taken this semester. Undergraduate credit hours have increased 17.5 percent over last fall. Freshman enrollment this semester increased by 395 students, or 26.3 percent, over last year.
Graduate enrollment overall increased 8.8 percent, with 681 students this year versus 626 in Fall 2008, but the number of graduate students classified as “degree-seeking” increased by 113, or 24.7 percent, over Fall 2008. Graduate credit hours overall increased by 9.6 percent over last fall, but credit hours taken by degree-seeking grad students jumped 22 percent.
Degree-seeking students are those who have declared their intent to complete a particular graduate degree program, such as business, as opposed to students who take grad classes but who are not formally pursuing graduate degrees.
Diversity enrollment also increased significantly at IU Northwest this year. African-American enrollment increased by 211 students, or 20 percent, and Hispanic enrollment jumped by 54 students, or 9 percent. The number of Asian-American students enrolled at IU Northwest increased by 28 students, or 31.8 percent.
The total number of male students at IU Northwest increased by 301, or 20.6 percent, while the number of female students on campus increased by 465, or 14 percent.
Though substantial, this year’s enrollment increase is not a record for IU Northwest. In Fall 1992, the campus registered 5,962 students. That year also marked the university’s previous record for total credit hours with 55,074.