|A Successful Equation
Scholarships + vigorous strategies + 1,000s of connections = record surge in enrollment
“When I visited the campus, I instantly felt like this is where I belonged. I could envision my future here. Manchester also offered me an incredible amount of financial aid and scholarships.”
Now, that’s what we’re talking about!
It took 18 months to turn around enrollment against the odds: the economy, downward trends nationwide, the economy, competition by other area colleges, the economy …
At a dizzying pace, Admissions restructured under new leadership, new strategy, new initiative funding, exciting new buildings, and demonstrative commitment from every corner of the College, brought this announcement on Sept. 4:
Manchester College is welcoming its largest class in more than 25 years, adding faculty, class sections, classrooms and filling residence halls to accommodate 1,145 students.
Crucial to the success were $9.9 million in academic scholarships awarded for the 2008-09 school year. The total scholarship amount sets an enormous record for the College, enabled by state and federal grants as well as generous donors to endowed scholarships and the College endowment.
“Endowed scholars make a difference in Manchester College’s ability to attract strong students,” said David F. McFadden ’82, executive vice president.
All of the scholarships recognize academic achievement, and range from $44,000 to more than $80,000 (over four years). Typical Manchester College students are not wealthy. They tend to come from middle income families struggling with tightening (and even dissolved) lending opportunities and climbing energy and grocery costs.
Faculty, coaches and a highly focused, goal-driven admissions team made more than 18,000 personal calls to prospective students, producing a phenomenal 46 percent increase in applications and 32 percent increase in campus visits.
The new class is strong: 45 percent of the new students graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school class. The new Fast Forward degree that enables strong scholars to finish in three years in any major without sacrificing international and extra-curricular experiences has drawn 15 students. (The first-year goal was 10.)
Enrollments in the sciences and education are up. With the entire coaching staff involved in recruiting, 64 percent of the new students expressed interest in competing in the 17 sports offered at Manchester, an NCAA Division III school.
And the 396-student class of first-year students is among Manchester College’s most diverse in history: 12 percent of the new domestic students are of color, plus the usual strong enrollment of international students. A growing number of Indianapolis and Fort Wayne students are finding their place at Manchester.
Manchester continues to draw most of its students (88 percent) from Indiana, with a typically strong showing of first-generation college students, 26 percent.
To continue that pace, the College will use a $100,000 Wal-Mart College Success Award in a nationwide initiative to increase the number of first-generation college graduates. Only 20 colleges will receive the grant; Manchester is the only Indiana college.
“Our first goal, and one that Wal-Mart shares and has generously funded, is to increase the number of first-generation students choosing college. A second is to increase the numbers who graduate from college. First-generation students and the State of Indiana both will benefit when we meet these goals,” said McFadden.
First-generation students often must find their own way to college.
B. Casey Jones ’07 graduated in a class of 72 students from the very rural Tri-Central High School between Tipton and Kokomo.
“A program like this would have been hugely helpful,’ said Jones. “My parents didn’t go to college, so I didn’t know what to do.”
Jones, who received a bachelor’s degree in art with a minor in biology, visited campus in September to help his younger brother, Kyle Jones ’12, enroll. “I’ll make sure he doesn’t make the same mistakes I made,” declared Jones as the pair headed off to the Science Center to meet one of Casey’s faculty mentors.
With the two-year grant, Manchester will identify and match potential first-generation candidates at area high schools to MC students and mentors, said Glenn R. Sharfman, vice president and dean for academic affairs. Students will attend overnight workshops to learn how to prepare and apply for college, and what to expect. And, the College will work with high school guidance counselors.
Class sizes and faculty who invite close connections with students continue to cement Manchester as a “Best College” in the popular college guides, including U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. The rankings praise Manchester for its approachable and passionate professors.
“The placement ranking was really big for my parents,” said Mercedes Plummer ’12, who entered Manchester College as a physical education major in the Fast Forward program this fall. “Just everything about MC sounded so good. Right away, I was hooked.”
Among the new students is 17-year-old Hajer Youns Hussain ’12, one of 15 young people driven out of their homeland by violence who are attending college in the United States through the Iraqi Student Project. Manchester College is waiving her tuition and residence hall fees so she can study computer science. Local fundraising is covering the remainder of her expenses.
By Jeri Kornegay
First-Generation student Erin Cole: Realizing the Dream
Erin Cole ’11 knew the moment she stepped on campus she had found her place. College is uncharted territory for her family … she is a first-generation student.
At Manchester, “I felt very comfortable,” she says, of her campus visit as a high school senior. While Erin admits being a first-generation student isn’t easy, her parents are there for her, every step of the way. They want her to realize her dream.
“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a little kid,” says Erin. “My mom has worked for a pediatrician since I was little and she would get mad at me because I always used to snoop through her medical books and cut stuff out.”
It didn’t matter that Erin and her family are not savvy about seeking out scholarships and other assistance. Manchester’s enrollment team is building her a financial aid package that acknowledges her potential for academic success.
The package includes five scholarships funded by generous donors to the College … just the sort of scholarships that enable scores of first-generation students like Erin to attend Manchester College, and realize their dreams. Her academic prowess qualifies her for MC’s full-tuition Trustee Scholarship. Erin also receives a Music Scholarship, endowed scholarships and a Manchester Symphony Orchestra Scholarship.
This month, she added $2,000 to her College account as Manchester College’s “Realizing the Dream — Outstanding First-Generation Student for 2008-2009.” Sponsored by Independent Colleges of Indiana, the award celebrates Indiana high school grads who have achieved superior grades in their first year of college, who demonstrate leadership, and whose parents did not attend college. That’s Erin to a “T.”
The biology-chemistry major (with a minor in Spanish) earns high grades yet still finds time to play the violin for the MSO, take photographs for the Oak Leaves, teach English as a second language, stock for the Chemistry Department, do research in genetics, spend January Sessions abroad, and run her own photography business.
Manchester College students
4% International students
8% Domestic students of color
97% Full-time students
75% Live on campus
87% Indiana residents
1% Fast Forward
6% Church of the Brethren
21% accounting and business-related (includes marketing, non-profit management, management, finance)
19% science/math/computer science
16% exercise and sport science