ASC sets new enrollment record
Adams State College set a new enrollment record this fall, the result of a larger freshman class, growing graduate programs, and improved student retention, according to Dr. Michael Mumper, Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and Program Development. Adams State recorded an increase of 4 percent in on-campus undergraduates and graduate students, for a total of 2,967.
"This is the seventh consecutive semester of enrollment growth, and now with record enrollment two years in a row, we feel this is a good sign of a permanent trend," Mumper said.
An additional 500 undergraduate students are enrolled online or through other distance education programs, bringing Adams State's total enrollment to 3,467, compared to last year's previous record high enrollment of 3,369, an increase of 2.9 percent. That figure includes 2,747 undergraduates and 720 graduate students.
Adams State President David Svaldi noted: "We are nearing full capacity for on-campus students. While we do anticipate additional enrolment growth, the bulk of that will come from on-line program development."
Mumper said Adams State's freshman class increased 5.7 percent over 2009, to 565. Students are persisting from the first to second year of college at a higher rate, with retention this year nearly 60 percent, up nearly 9 percent from two years ago. Mumper attributes this improvement to several new programs designed to foster student success and to an increase in the quality of entering freshman students.
"We have been bringing in more students who have outstanding academic records in high school. These students do well at ASC - and that improves our retention rate" Mumper said.
"Our caring campus allows us to better address the needs of underserved students - whether they are from rural areas, low income families, minority groups, or are in their family's first generation to attend college," Svaldi added.
Graduate student enrollment is up 5.4 percent over last year. Most of Adams State's graduate students are enrolled in online or hybrid programs, which include a summer residency on campus.
"This is the highest number of graduate students ever," Mumper said. Adams State recently expanded its number of master's degree programs to seven; 21 students are enrolled in the new master's in Higher Education Administration Leadership. The Master's in Business Administration program grew 51 percent, with 71 current students. Counselor Education, Adams State's largest graduate program, grew 9 percent, to 273 students.
Several undergraduate programs are also experiencing growth: the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program grew 65 percent, to 160 majors. Art majors increased 60 percent to 74, including both the B.A. and B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts) programs. Significant growth is also evident in psychology, sociology, physics, and human performance and physical education.
Student diversity at Adams State is also increasing. Total undergraduate Hispanic enrollment increased from 29 percent in 2009 to 32 percent. Another 14 percent of the undergraduate student body identifies as African American, Native American/Alaskan, Asian/Pacific Islander, or multi-racial.
Adams State is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution, qualifying it for significant institutional development grants.
"In addition to new academic and student support programs, our campus is undergoing a huge transformation," Svaldi said.
Students recently moved into the college's first new student residence hall in a half century, the Residences at Rex. The four-story structure is adjacent to Rex football field, and includes new stadium and community facilities in its southern portion. The college also continues to renovate its existing student housing and expand on-campus parking. Linking all student life facilities is the new North Campus Green and pedestrian corridor. In the spring, Adams State will begin remodeling its ES and Music buildings, as well.
By Julie Waechter