Northwestern College’s spring enrollment is 1,170, an increase of 41 students from last year and the highest figure since 2008.
Kenton Pauls, dean of enrollment management, says the increased enrollment resulted from strong retention of current students and growth in online learners.
The retention rate of freshmen who returned for the spring semester was over 92 percent. “We’re starting to see fruit from the hard work that’s happened on campus to implement strategies known to support student success and retention,” says Pauls. He cited as an example the new first-year seminar, which was taken by 38 percent of freshmen. Of them, 94 percent came back to campus after Christmas break.
“The first-year seminar emphasizes the building of a strong academic community,” says Dr. Adrienne Forgette, dean of the faculty. “Our data indicates that the seminar’s emphasis on what we are all about at Northwestern—our academic and Christian mission and values—resulted in students who were more satisfied and successful. This bodes well moving forward as every new freshman will enroll in this class starting next fall.”
This semester’s enrollment includes 48 students who are enrolled only in Northwestern’s online programs. College officials expect online enrollment to continue to rise as two new programs begin this summer—an R.N. to B.S.N. completion program and a certificate in analytics.
Northwestern’s spring enrollment data indicates that nine percent of students are American ethnic minorities and another three percent hail from another country. Nearly 53 percent of Northwestern’s students are from Iowa, with 34 states represented. A quarter of the college’s students are members of the Reformed Church in America, but 23 denominations are represented.