The higher education institutions affiliated with Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Church Canada and the Mennonite Brethren denominations in the U.S. and Canada have released fall enrollment statistics.
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary is continuing a four-year trend of growth, with expansion of programs drawing increases in students from both North America and around the world. Total enrollment is 189 students, up from 157 a year ago. Graduate students come from 22 countries and number 149, eight more than last year and the highest number of graduate students in 14 years. The undergraduate-level Journey Missional Leadership Development Program grew from 16 students last year to 40 this fall.
Full-time equivalency is the highest in 11 years, and the incoming class of 49 students is the largest since 1999. The master of divinity program counts 42 students, 15 on campus and 27 in the distance-friendly Connect version.
“We’re experiencing enrollment growth in remarkable ways in a time when many seminaries in the U.S. and Canada are struggling,” said AMBS President David Boshart. “We don’t take it for granted that our numbers are some of the highest we’ve seen in years. AMBS’s programs and initiatives are attracting people from across the globe in addition to our U.S. and Canadian students. Our increased collaboration with Anabaptist-Mennonite and other Christian organizations is helping make this possible.”
Enrollment in online programs represents 77% of students, up from 65% last year, although the total number of international students decreased by one from 74 last year. Students in the United States increased from 61 last year to 65 this year. Canadian students number 11, up from six last fall.
A doctor of ministry in leadership program began in January, with seven students enrolled. A new Spanish certificate program began this fall with 10 students enrolled in the online program.
Bethel College enrollment grew for the fifth year in a row, climbing from a low of 444 students in 2018 to above 500 students for the first time since 2017. This fall’s enrollment of 503 is eight more than last fall.
Bethel counts 193 new students — first-time freshmen, transfer students and former students returning. Eric Preheim, director of admissions, called this group a “difference-maker.”
“It’s the largest first-year class — 160 freshmen — in 35 years, since 1988,” he said.
Tabor College undergraduate enrollment increased 5%, rising by 26 to 531 students on the Hillsboro, Kan., campus. Including 83 graduate and online students and another 50 enrolled in dual-credit courses, total enrollment is 664, up from 637 students last year.
Students come from 28 countries, holding steady from last year, and the 78% retention rate of overall enrollment from last fall is the best over the last decade.
“Strong retention is proof of what we have been experiencing on campus, that students are thriving at Tabor College,” said President David Janzen. “We are blown away by how God is working in the lives of these students.”
Goshen College overall enrollment grew by 56 to 824 students, driven by growth in the adult degree completion program, which now has 78 students. Graduate programs remained even, with 51 students, including 11 in the new master of social work program.
Undergraduate enrollment is also level, down by four students to 695, including 189 new students. Full-time Black and international student enrollment increased to the highest portion of the student body ever, with 53% of students identifying as Black, Indigenous, Person of Color or international.
Canadian Mennonite University undergraduate and graduate enrollment increased 2% thanks to strong student retention and growth in graduate studies offsetting large graduating classes. Students come from 25 countries, many from Nigeria, and 13% of undergraduate students identify as Indigenous.
Although the number of full-time students at Eastern Mennonite University stayed level, the overall number of students declined from 1,456 to 1,410.
“I am pleased to see increases in the number of transfer students, full-time graduate students and in specific undergraduate and graduate program areas,” said Mary Krahn Jensen, vice president for enrollment and strategic growth.
Transfer students rose by 60%, and the number of full-time graduate students grew from 78 to 95, with growth in biomedicine, counseling and nursing programs. Intensive English Program students increased from 77 to 84.
Enrollment at Eastern Mennonite Seminary declined by eight students to 50, with the biggest decline among full-time seminarians, dropping from 15 last year to 10 this fall.
Numbers are mixed at Fresno Pacific University, where gains in traditional undergraduate and graduate students were not enough to compensate for decreases in degree completion programs. Overall enrollment is down 4% to 2,919, while traditional undergraduates grew from 749 to 787 and graduate enrollment grew from 1,288 to 1,305.
Enrollment at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, which is included in the graduate student count, decreased by one, to 110 students. The most popular offering there is the master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.
Traditional undergraduate enrollment grew for the first time in 10 years, while degree completion saw its biggest decline (21%) since 2019 because of enrollment declines at community colleges, which produce most degree completion students.
Bluffton University full-time enrollment in undergraduate and graduate programs is down slightly to 664.
The traditional undergraduate first-year class of 205 students is up from 172 a year ago.
Graduate studies have 54 new students enrolled, a 50% increase over the previous year and the highest number in at least five years, due in part to the addition of programs in social work and dietetics.
Hesston College enrollment decreased from 325 to 308 students. New students increased by seven to 151 this fall, the first such increase for the college since before the pandemic in the 2019-20 academic year.
The retention rate held steady at 66%, while international enrollment declined from 59 students to 50 this year.
Conrad Grebel University College has the same number of students living in residence on campus as last year, but fewer students overall, as total enrollment decreased from 250 last year to 214.
Graduate programs continued declines. The master’s degree in peace and conflict studies admitted 18 students for a total of 36 in the program, one less than last year. The master of theological studies program admitted 12 students to bring enrollment to 29, also one less than in 2022.