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Manchester University is today announcing a record undergraduate enrollment increase in its first-year class and the largest incoming class in at least three decades.
Preliminary figures released Tuesday show that there are 441 first-year students, a 20 percent increase over Fall 2013 (367). Total University enrollment is now at 1,479, a 9.6 percent increase over Fall 2013 (1,349), bolstered
Manchester has added 73 students to its College of Pharmacy doctoral program, making its total more than 200. The school got nearly 600 applications for those 73 spots and had a wait list of 100 qualified students.
“Over the past year, Manchester has gotten really clear about who we are and what we deliver. It’s clear that the University’s focus on affordable excellence is in high demand,” said Scott Ochander, vice president of admissions and marketing. “Manchester is an accepting and supportive place that helps young people find themselves.”
While there are a few new features on campus this year – a new sales major and competitive swimming program – he said the University and its growth are driven by its purpose to graduate persons of ability and conviction, and the transformational outcomes students receive through their time at Manchester.
Manchester offers a Triple Guarantee to students including guaranteed access to financial aid, guaranteed graduation in four years or less and guaranteed job or grad school placement within six months of graduation. “We are able to offer a guaranteed outcome like employment because we deliver” Ochander said. Manchester’s 10-year average for employment/grad school placement is higher than 95%.
“Manchester is a safe place to be yourself, and we simply ask students to be their best selves,” said new MU President Dave McFadden. “We want them to get involved – learn who they want to be – and lead the ‘principled, productive and compassionate lives’ our mission statement espouses.
“The Manchester community strives to develop the whole person,” he said, “and that involves high expectations, dedication to service and appreciation of the infinite worth of every individual.”
In today’s market, there is a lot of talk about the value of higher education, Ochander said. “At Manchester University, we deliver.”
· MU grads get jobs. Year after year at least 95 percent of Manchester graduates entered the work force, continued their education full-time or joined full-time voluntary service within six months of graduation over the past 10 years. For 2013 grads, the placement rate was 97 percent. (http://www.manchester.edu/OSD/Career/sgradreports.htm)
· Undergrads get an “employment guarantee.” – If they have taken advantage of Manchester's services and opportunities and still don’t have a job or acceptance into a graduate school within six months of graduation, they may return for a year, tuition-free. (http://www.manchester.edu/tripleguarantee/index.htm)
· We grow CPAs. Manchester is well-known for producing well-prepared professionals who are offered full-time positions months before they graduate and perform extremely well on the Uniform CPA exam. (http://www.manchester.edu/accounting/)
· Our pre-med students get accepted. Biology and chemistry students leave Manchester University ready for medical school. Over the past five years, 89 percent of Manchester graduates who applied to med school were accepted. The national average is about 40 percent.
· So do our pre-law and psychology students. Over the last decade, nearly 86 percent of Manchester applicants have gained admission to law school, while 100% of those seeking graduate psychology programs have been accepted. The national average is 75 percent for law school.
· 100 percent of Manchester students receive financial aid. The average size of its financial aid package is about $23,000 per student. Most of that is gift aid that doesn't have to be paid back.
Ochander said most Manchester students graduate in four years – some in three years – which greatly increases their earning power over the years and keeps student loan debt in check. The average Manchester student graduates with less than $30,000 of debt, which is lower than the national average.
“When you consider that the average college graduate in Indiana will earn well over a million dollars more than a high school graduate throughout their career, the affordability and outcomes of Manchester University make it a very easy investment choice.” Ochander said.
Manchester starts early to help students focus on their career goals and “build skills and experience to achieve those goals when they graduate,” said Liz Bushnell, associate dean and director of Career Services.
This collaborative effort involves both faculty and staff serving as mentors, she said, helping students get experience and networking that put them on the right path.
“Students who take advantage of career development opportunities find success,” she said.
New students are greeted on Move-In Day by crowds of upperclassmen who tote bags and boxes to their rooms, introducing them to Manchester’s close-knit community. We talked to a few first-year students during their first days of classes last week.
“It’s more than just classes; it feels like they are preparing me for my future,” said Rebekah Landers, about her first psychology classes. She is from Georgetown, Ind., and a graduate of Floyd Central High School.
"The relationships that I will accumulate, the experiences, and basically just learning more in my classes are all things that excite me," said Carrie Darrow, a first-year student and Columbia City High School graduate.
“I'm most excited about making new friends and having that experience. I really like the atmosphere here,” said Alexandra Shelton, a first-year student and Manchester High School graduate.
“There's so much I'm excited about. I've already made a bunch of good friends, but I'm really excited about cross country,” said Shelby Harrell, a first-year student and graduate of Plymouth High School.
“I'm most excited about getting involved in all the activities that are accessible here,” said Chris McAleavey, a Decatur Central High School graduate and first-year student.
“I'm most excited about my FYS class. It's pretty cool. We get to do a lot of critical thinking and we get to go on a retreat this weekend,” said first-year student Sawyer Stefanatos, a graduate of Southwood High School. The First Year Seminar introduces new students to college-level writing by examining a topic through multiple perspectives.
“Being part of the peace studies department and utilizing everything it has to offer me is very exciting. I'm also excited to become immersed in the Manchester community,” said first-year student Hannah Brown, a graduate of Yellow Springs High School.
“I am excited to meet new people and join clubs,” said Tyler Sheppard, a first-year student and graduate of Elkhart Memorial High School.
Tanner Rieck, a first-year student and graduate of Edwardsburg High School, is looking forward to “exciting classes geared toward my career goal.”
Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers more than 60 areas of academic study to nearly 1,500 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Athletic Training and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at www.manchester.edu.
September 2, 2014