Indiana State recruited another record-breaking freshman class size for the 2017-2018 school year. In August 2017, 2,688 new first-year students
joined ISU’s campus in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. This record enrollment comes after a busy application season, in which 14,025 applications were received. This is over 1,700 more applications than the previous application cycle.
“We have seen substantial growth over the past eight years, with each class larger than the year before,” said John Beacon, vice president of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications. Beacon has watched ISU’s enrollment grow throughout his 10 years on campus. He has 51 years of experience in enrollment in higher education. He plans to retire from his position in June 2018 and begin teaching graduate courses.
Since the 2010 entering class, ISU has set enrollment records for eight consecutive years and seen a 30 percent increase in freshmen class size. These eight classes have been the largest in ISU’s history.
Even as the number of students continues to grow, the university continues to recruit higher caliber students. The average high school GPA has increased each year while the percentage of students conditionally admitted has decreased throughout the eight-year period of growth.
“If you look at the data, it shows that competition for high school students is growing,” said Beacon. “While continued growth like we have seen is unlikely, we market heavily in the Chicago area and have been very successful. We’re now looking to St. Louis and seeing some success there, as well as Kentucky and Michigan.”
Not only are freshmen classes growing, but retention rates are as well. In comparison to 2011, in which 60.59 percent of students returned aftertheir first year, 67.82 percent returned in the 2016entering class. The university is also looking at improving online programs, but leans more toward traditional students for sustained growth. Students are coming to Indiana State for its size, its user- friendly campus and its competitive programs.
“Retention gets easier as more academic students are admitted,” Beacon said when asked about the future. “I think the future will be interesting. ... We have to be smart because we are trying to steal a market share from other institutions.”
With sustainable and well-maintained scholarship programs, a variety of competitive academic programs, a student-friendly campus, and helpful and guiding professors, there are few doubts that ISU will continue to grow and recruit competitive students for years to come.