NAD College/University Enrollment Trends Upward
The overall headcount enrollment in the 14 Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities rose significantly in 2013 compared to the previous year, reports the North American Division (NAD) Office of Education. Data indicate that four of the 14 higher education institutions drove the upward momentum with large increases in headcount enrollment: La Sierra University, which experienced its highest enrollment ever with 2,478 students; Loma Linda University, which showed a 12-percent increase over four years; Pacific Union College, with its highest enrollment in 24 years; and Union College, which increased by 19 students compared to the previous year. Some Adventist colleges and universities, however, showed a decrease in student numbers.
Although the overall student headcount enrollment rose, the full-time equivalency (FTE) decreased by 23 percent compared to 2012, explains Larry Blackmer, NAD vice president for education. “This signals a shift from full-time students to part-time or adult evening or online students,” he says.
The belief that providing online education is necessary to support the mission of the church prompted the General Conference Executive Committee during its Spring Meeting in 2010 to vote to merge Griggs University with Andrews University. Since then, the number of students studying online with Adventist universities “has grown by leaps and bounds,” says Alayne Thorpe, dean of the School of Distance Education at Andrews University. “Online education makes it possible for Adventist universities to reach new audiences of students—adults, Adventists in public schools, non-Adventists,” Thorpe told Adventist Review. “The shift to serving more students online creates an opportunity for Adventist schools to extend not only academic offerings but the community of Christian education that supports personal and spiritual development.”
“The recent increases in enrollment evidence that our institutions of higher learning—both on-campus and online—continue to provide quality Adventist education,” Blackmer adds. “The mission of these educational facilities is being played out on their campuses and in their communities. We’re deeply grateful for God’s leading and blessings for our young people and our schools.”
—by AR staff with information provided by NAD Office of Education
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