Valparaiso University welcomes largest student body in more than 30 years
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org September 3, 2013 10:04AM
During the 85h annual Opening Convocation at Valparaiso University, new students sign the Honor Code. The university has its highest enrollment in more than three decades. | Photo provided
Updated: October 5, 2013 6:08AM
Valparaiso University students starts classes on Tuesday with the school reporting its largest enrollment in more than three decades.
With nearly 4,400 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, the university is pleased with the growth and prepared for more in the next few years.
David Fevig, VU’s assistant vice president for enrollment management, said the school will see 200 to 300 more students during the 2013-2014 school year. He attributes the increase to several factors, in particular getting the university’s message out to prospective students.
“In U.S. News and World Report, we’re generally ranked in the top 3 best values due to our combination of a quality education and the net price affected by financial aid,” Fevig said. “I’m sitting in our new welcome center right now, and over the past few years we’ve built a new arts and sciences building, a new union and a new residence hall. We are going after prospective students, focusing on our primary markets in Indiana and Illinois.”
Freshman Jacob Peterson had never heard of the school until several of his mom’s co-workers mentioned that they were graduates of VU.
“I was looking for a small or medium-sized college where you could get to know your professors,” said Peterson, who is from River Forest, Ill. “I was looking for school with good engineering and business programs. But a big draw was soccer; the coaches were very honest and you don’t find that often in the soccer world.”
Peterson, who is a goalkeeper on the reserve team, visited the school and loved the feel of campus. He also appreciated the Lutheran university’s commitment to faith.
“I really felt like I would have a good support system,” Peterson said. “I felt like I could do well here and be a success.”
VU is located a little over an hour from Peterson’s hometown, and it’s not too far from South Bend, where several of his friends are attending the University of Notre Dame.
“The separation is good, and I’ve been meeting a lot of new people,” he said.
Valpo expects enrollment growth in all five academic colleges. The College of Engineering anticipates 141 new freshmen, the highest number in 35 years, and the College of Nursing expects to enroll 115 new freshmen, the highest in its history. About 94 incoming students will enroll in Christ College — The Honors College, the second-highest in that college’s 46-year history.
Fevig said VU could see more students in the next few years.
“We’d like to get close to 5,000 or 6,000 students,” Fevig said. “We do have the capacity, with a lot of space and new buildings.”