Changes and upgrades at Indiana University Kokomo are attracting more – and younger – students, leading to a record spring enrollment of 3,648 students this semester.
Current enrollment increased by 11.9 percent from spring 2013, including growth at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Minority students now represent 12.1 percent of the student population, and the number of credit hours is up 8.4 percent from one year ago.
“We don’t really have a set target [for enrollment], but obviously it’s good for us to continue to grow,” said Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke. “We want to grow in a logical, strategic way and make sure we can accommodate those students on campus.”
New degree programs (in health sciences, hospitality and tourism and a graduate degree in nursing) have drawn more students. IUK also has stepped up its student life offerings, with the new Milt and Jean Cole Family Wellness and Fitness Center that opened in August and an increased Greek life presence.
The Cougars formed a women’s volleyball team and men’s basketball team in 2010. Athletics will add women’s basketball in 2014 and men’s and women’s golf in 2015-16.
More recent high school graduates are seeing IUK as a first-choice for college, as evidenced by the increased in young students attending the university.
Five years ago, the largest age group represented on campus was 21 to 24 (593 students), followed by students 35 and older (453). Today, 18 to 20 year olds are the most prominent age group (980 students), with 21 to 24 year olds making up the second largest group (741).
“It is less expensive to be able to live at home and go to school, so that’s part of (the increase in younger students),” Sciame-Giesecke said. “The other part is we’re getting the word out that we are an Indiana University degree, and we have more of those components that attract traditional-age students.”
As the campus grows, the Main Building is set for renovations to begin this year, with $14 million in funding from the state legislature. Plans include adding new classrooms, a math lab, and a Mac lab, among other projects.
Mecca Companies continues to develop an apartment complex on South Washington Street from IUK, which does not currently offer student housing.
Education reporter Lauren Fitch can be reached at 765-454-8587, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @LaurenBFitch.