Summer enrollment heating up

July 5th, 2018

By Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

The University of Saint Francis has never been busier, while some northeast Indiana colleges are experiencing declining summer enrollments.

In a late June newsletter, the university announced the strong enrollment, particularly in health sciences, creative arts and education.

Ivy Tech Community College's Fort Wayne campus, Manchester University and Grace College also reported more summer students than the previous summer.

Summer sessions are part of Saint Francis' effort to provide affordable options to students, said Lance Richey, interim vice president for academic affairs.

“USF's summer undergraduate courses, which are offered at a 50 percent discount from the fall and spring semester rate, offer our students a convenient and affordable way to make faster progress toward their degrees or to explore new subjects and opportunities they cannot fit into their regular schedules,” Richey said in a statement.

Saint Francis' nearly 10 percent enrollment tuition increase over 2017 doesn't make it the most popular choice for summer study – it has only 874 students – but enrollment at some larger programs is declining.

Trine University, which is on track for record enrollment this fall, has 72 fewer students this summer for a total of 1,035.

“Much of this decline is due to a smaller international student population, a trend colleges are experiencing nationwide due to fears over current U.S. immigration policy,” spokesman James Tew said in an email. “International students typically take summer classes as part of their degree programs.”

At Purdue University Fort Wayne, a new tuition model is contributing to the summer decline, said Carl Drummond, vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management.

IPFW officially split into two institutions Sunday – Purdue University Fort Wayne and Indiana University Fort Wayne.

With banded tuition, which begins this fall, students can take 12 to 18 credit hours during a semester for the same cost rather than paying per credit hour. It makes financial sense that students wait to take a class in the fall rather than pay for it separately in the summer, Drummond said.

PFW's first summer session was down 328 students, for a total of 2,021. Summer II enrollment was down by 139 students, totaling 1,645.

Grace College, where 554 undergraduates are enrolled for the summer, offers block tuition pricing that includes tuition-free online summer courses for traditional undergraduate students, spokeswoman Amanda Banks said in an email.

Manchester University's summer term has grown steadily, from 166 students in 2015 to 226 this year. Registrar Audrey Hampshire said via email that the new master's degree program in pharmacogenomics is fueling the growth. This year, 39 such students are enrolled for summer, compared with four last summer.

At Ivy Tech, the unduplicated head count was up 5 percent in Fort Wayne, from 2,400 last year to 2,531 this year as of June 25. The Warsaw site had 38 fewer students this summer, for a total of 279, but saw an increase in full-time equivalency, which is up 14 percent.

Academic programs under the School of Information Technology and the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Applied Science are especially popular this summer, spokesman Andrew Welch said in an email.

Other factors adding to summer enrollment include tuition-reimbursement agreements between Ivy Tech and local employers, which attracted 82 summer students, and a “guest student” program, he said. Guest students can take Ivy Tech classes while being enrolled at their home institution. This summer, the guest population exceeded the targets in both Fort Wayne and Warsaw, he said.

“We attribute that to more college students who are home for the summer choosing Ivy Tech to continue their (studies) and transfer completed coursework back to their home institution,” Welch said.

Indiana Tech doesn't have a summer session on campus for traditional undergrads but is considering that.