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NWI campus enrollment on the rise

Students make their way from classes campus IndianUniversity Northwest Gary Ind. Monday September 17 2012.  Some local university campuses

Students make their way to and from classes on the campus of Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Ind. Monday September 17, 2012. Some local university campuses have seen an increase in enrollment, including IUN. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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2011 vs. 2012
enrollment

2011 2012 Change

Indiana University Northwest

6,035 6,154 +2.5%

Purdue University Calumet

9,786 10,054 +3%

Valparaiso University

4,056 4,081 +1%

Purdue University North Central

5,279 6,048 +13%

Calumet College of St. Joseph

675 644 -5%

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Updated: October 23, 2012 6:07AM



Northwest Indiana’s four-year universities are enjoying a robust fall, with many posting record enrollment numbers.

In Gary, Indiana University Northwest reached an all-time high enrollment of 6,184 students, a 2.5 percent increase over last year.

Purdue University Calumet in Hammond saw its second highest increase with 10,054 students, a 3 percent increase from last year.

Purdue University North Central in Westville also set all-time enrollment and credit hour records.

Valparaiso University had its highest enrollment in 29 years and its highest population of international and minority students.

Colleges across the country saw enrollment drop during the recession years, but the decline never reached alarming levels and now it’s rebounding impressively.

IUN officials attributed the increase to the campus’ recruitment efforts and the recent expansion of its Early College program and partnerships with Calumet, Crown Point, East Chicago Central, Hobart, Lake Central, Lake Station Edison and Whiting high schools.

“Increasing enrollment by high school students reflects a nationwide trend and responds directly to requests from school districts in the region, as they work to make sure that their students achieve Indiana’s standards for high school graduation and college readiness,” said IUN Chancellor William Lowe.

Michael Joseph, vice president of enrollment management at VU, credits aggressive marketing, especially in the Chicago area. “We have a record number of freshman applications,” said Joseph. “Our goal is to get to 6,000 in a thoughtful, incremental way so we can plan for it. We want growth in the traditional college way.”

Another first at VU is the number of males in its freshman class outnumber women. Joseph said the 53 percent male freshman class represents a record. “It’s the first time we’ve ever had more men than women.”

At PUC, officials said it’s the second time the university surpassed the 10,000-student milestone. Spokesman Wes Lukoshus said part of the increase is due to 629 dual credit high school students and increased growth in its online program. Full-time enrollment, however, dropped 13 percent.

Credit hours, where revenue is generated, is unchanged.

“Though our head count is up, we have stayed relatively flat over the past three years in the overall number of enrolled course hours by our students,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas Keon said in a statement. “That expressed, we feel there are opportunities for us to penetrate various target markets more effectively in attracting students who will persist successfully to a Purdue degree and enable us to grow.”

Boosted by an online program, PUC’s School of Nursing has 1,622 students, up from 890, a 45 percent jump.

At Purdue North Central, enrollment soared 13 percent to 6,048 students. Credit hours set a record, as well.

“I wanted to stay close,” said freshman Rachel McCullough of Hebron. “I’m in the nursing program and PNC offers cadaver study, which was really important to me and factored into my decision.”

Freshman Kaitlynn Heslin of Chesterton said she didn’t want to move away from home. “My mom has a Purdue degree and that helped influence my decision. I like the elementary education program here.”

Calumet College of St. Joseph in Hammond saw a decline of about 5 percent, although officials said registration was still continuing for undergraduate acceleration classes which begin next month.

The college unveiled a 21,000-square-foot addition Thursday that contains a new bookstore, art and science rooms, a café and new library entrance and student commons.



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