This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Colleges and seminaries report enrollment totals

Eastern Mennonite University’s fall enrollment made the biggest gains among U.S. Mennonite colleges and seminaries compared to a year ago.


Four institutions saw total enrollments increase, though two of these were virtually unchanged. Four recorded declines.

EMU in Harrisonburg, Va., set a record for total students, reporting gains in almost every category.

Total students — including graduate programs, Eastern Mennonite Seminary and part-time students — increased 10 percent, from 1,622 last fall to 1,789 students. Full-time undergraduate students increased from 889 to 917.

Though seminary numbers were slightly down, with three fewer full-time students and 141 total students — one less than last year — other graduate programs reported significant increases. Graduate students grew by 27 percent from 274 to 345, with most of the gains in part-time students and new nursing and biomedicine programs.

Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University’s total enrollment is nearly level, adding one student since last fall for a total of 3,461. However, traditional undergraduates added 27 to set a new record of 1,254.

Graduate students also set a new record, increasing by 5 percent to 1,071. That total includes Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, which grew by 46 students to 157. The program with the most growth was marriage and family therapy, with 22 new students.

More students are also attending classes at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. Since fall 2012, total students rose by 10 to 482 and full-time undergraduates increased from 451 to 464, though both amounts are lower than those of 2011.

“The class of 2017 is the largest class in recent memory,” said vice president for admissions Todd Moore. “It has eclipsed the size of any class since the turn of the century.” First-time freshmen number 123 and transfers 74.

At Hesston (Kan.) College, total students are up slightly, from 447 to 449, while full-time students are down, from 381 a year ago to 376, with a full-time equivalency of 403 students.

In-state and out-of-state U.S. students are nearly equal, with 44 percent coming from Kansas and 42 percent from other states. Sixty-four international students make up 14 percent of total enrollment. There are 219 new students on campus.

Bluffton (Ohio) University enrollment movement is also mixed, with total students dropping 4 percent to 1,146 — continuing a slide from fall 2011’s 1,229 total students.

The university increased its number of full-time undergraduates by five to 838. First-time freshmen rose from 239 last fall to 250.

After graduating its largest class in 26 years last spring, Goshen (Ind.) College’s enrollment numbers are down. Total students decreased from 923 to 888, and full-time undergraduates are 745, down from 807 last fall. Both are lower than fall 2011’s 945 total students and 814 full-time undergraduates.

Goshen set a record high of 60 students in graduate programs, thanks in part to offering a new master’s degree in intercultural leadership.

After five years of record enrollment, Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., graduated 194 students — the college’s largest class — last spring.

In spite of recording 246 new students this year, with freshmen increasing from 142 to 159, enrollment dropped 4 percent, from 768 to 736. Full-time undergraduates dropped from 580 to 565.

Six hundred students take courses on the Hillsboro campus, 13 fewer than last year, and the Wichita campus head count is down from 147 to 126.

Total students at Anabaptist Biblical Mennonite Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., dropped slightly, from 104 to 101.

Students are taking fewer classes this year, with 31 full-time students and 70 part-time students. A year ago those numbers were 47 and 57.

The AMBS-Great Plains extension in North Newton, Kan., is in a similar situation. There are 13 students there, just like last year, but the full-time equivalency has dropped from 4.33 to 2.67. Overall full-time equivalency is 49.17, compared to 58.32 a year ago.

Tim Huber

Tim Huber is associate editor at Anabaptist World. He worked at Mennonite World Review since 2011. A graduate of Tabor College, Read More

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