President Jo Young Switzer greets students after the Sept. 2 opening convocation.
Manchester helps families
bridge state aid gap,
sets enrollment record
Manchester College added more than 21 class sections, beefed up its dining options and moved in more beds to accommodate a second straight year of record enrollment when classes began Sept. 2.
Enrollment is 1,223, including 426 first-year students (a 26-year record), said Stuart Jones, dean of enrollment. “We were ready for them,” he said of the 75-plus more students than last fall. Retention appears up, too, among last year’s new students who returned for their sophomore year.
“Our faculty has been so willing to teach additional sections,” said Registrar Lila Van Lue ’79 Hammer. “It speaks to how important it is to us to keep class sizes small enough so that faculty can really connect with their students.”
Courses across the day and evening schedules gained sections, from introductory classes in philosophy, psychology, and music to classes in Christian tradition, algebra, macro economics, biology, American history and Spanish. The College even had to add a section to an on-line class in medical terminology for exercise and sport sciences majors.
The campus Success Center in the College Union is adding study tables and other support systems as student needs are identified. Chartwells campus food service introduced “grab and go” options, and speedy new service areas and systems to entice students to make time for appetizing, healthy meals. The Oaks beefed up its offerings, too.
Well into the summer, the State of Indiana unexpectedly announced a 31 percent slash to state aid for college students. Manchester responded by swiftly reworking its individual financial aid packages and awarding more than $1.1 million in additional aid to about 600 of its neediest students, half the student body.
Savings in College-wide budget cutting last spring, in anticipation of continuing uncertain economic times, were diverted to the student financial aid packages. “We are committed to making a Manchester College education accessible and affordable,” said President Jo Young ’69 Switzer.
The enrollment team is in its second year of a new strategy that builds on participation by everyone on campus – from enrollment advisors and coaches to faculty and students who personally connect with prospective students.
Enrollment initiatives that stress affordability such as the College’s Triple Guarantee of financial aid for all students, a degree in four years and a job within six months of graduation also helped build the record class. Registration also is exceeding expectations in the nationally recognized Fast Forward, the College’s three-year bachelor’s degree, Jones said.
Focused on continuing enrollment successes, Manchester sees new classroom and other learning facilities in its future. Planning is under way.