By Lindsey Ziliak Kokomo Tribune
---- — Indiana University Kokomo boasted record-breaking fall enrollment numbers for the second year in a row — a trend sparked by more degree offerings and a more collegiate atmosphere, university officials say.
Enrollment increased by 12.3 percent this fall, with 4,178 students now taking classes on the IU Kokomo campus.
This is nothing new, though, Interim Chancellor Sue Sciame-Giesecke said.
“IU Kokomo has had five consecutive years of enrollment growth as we become an institution of choice based on new programs, outstanding faculty and staff and enhanced collegiate experiences,” she said.
The university’s international travel programs, direct admissions programs, athletics, new gymnasium and fitness center have attracted a new demographic and contributed to the overall growth, she said.
IU Kokomo has become a destination of choice for recent high school graduates.
Eighty-two percent of this year’s freshmen are 18 years old, she said.
Three years ago, the campus was losing this demographic. According to enrollment records, in 2010, the number of recent high school graduates taking classes at IU Kokomo decreased by 10.5 percent, or 37 students.
Sciame-Giesecke said these students are realizing they can get an IU degree cheaper at the Kokomo campus than they could at the main campus or at other state universities. They can take advantage of small class sizes and more one-on-one time with faculty. And now they also can get the collegiate atmosphere so many of them are looking for, she said.
“We give them a lot of opportunities that you would find at a larger campus,” she said.
The university has added fraternities and sororities, athletics and more travel abroad experiences.
Over the summer, some students went to Hawaii to interview Japanese-American veterans about their U.S. military service during World War II. A group of MBA students spent eight days in Turkey touring businesses and learning about business models over there.
The university also has become a more comprehensive campus that offers a wider array of degree options, the interim chancellor said. It has added programs like a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism and a master’s degree in nursing, which Sciame-Giesecke said remains popular.
“These new programs bring you new students,” she said.
The campus set another record this year. Seventy-four percent of undergraduates are enrolled full time. According to enrollment records, that statistic was stuck at 70 percent for the past three years.
Sciame-Giesecke said that makes sense with the demographic the campus is attracting.
“It compliments that younger age,” she said.
IU Kokomo’s minority population is up nearly 30 percent this year, too. There are 20 percent more African Americans and 30 percent more Hispanic students, Sciame-Giesecke said.
Minority students make up 11.5 percent of the total student population, a 1 percentage point increase over the last three years, records indicate.
Sciame-Giesecke said she expects all of these numbers to just keep going up.
“We keep adding and adding and growing,” she said. “We now have arrived as a campus of choice.”
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Enrollment by the numbers: 4,178 students enrolled for fall 2013 -- up 12.3 percent over last year 82 percent of freshmen are 18 years old Minority population up 30 percent Minority students make up 11.5 percent of total student population Students are taking 38,600 credit hours -- up 10 percent over last year