Stetson Enrolls 3,000 Undergrads This Year
For the third consecutive year, Stetson University maintained its goal of enrolling 3,000 undergraduate students for the Fall Semester.
The University enrolled 3,084 undergraduates this year, compared to 3,089 last year. In addition, 319 graduate students were enrolled and 867 in the College of Law in Gulfport. Total enrollment at Stetson’s four campuses reached 4,273.
Stetson conducts an official census each September and reports the enrollment information to the federal government and other sources, such as college guides. The university had scheduled its census for Monday, Sept. 11, but was closed that week due to Hurricane Irma.
Resche Hines, Ph.D., assistant vice president of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at Stetson, said the University’s enrollment remains strong at a time when many colleges across the country are seeing declining enrollment. With a lower U.S. birth rate, there simply are fewer 18-21 year olds applying for college.
“In higher ed, there has been a lot of institutions experiencing decreasing enrollment,” Hines said. “There is a decline in the high school population of students nationally.”
Two years ago, Stetson’s undergraduate enrollment grew from 2,841 to 3,084. That reached the goal — a year early — set by President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., when she arrived in 2009 to grow enrollment to 3,000 undergraduate students by 2016.
Since then, enrollment has remained stable, Hines said.
“We planned to be at around 3,000 and we’re there,” he said. “Moving forward, we’ll be examining capacity and if 3,000 is the appropriate number for us. … Over the next year, the Cabinet, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, will have robust conversations around capacity and what does the capacity look like for the institution.”
Determining the capacity will take into account such factors as available rooms in residence halls, because Stetson requires students to live on campus for the first three years of their undergraduate education.
Stetson’s 3,084 undergraduates came mostly from Florida (2,068) with 807 from out of state and 209 international students. Among the undergraduates, 57 percent were female and 43 percent were male. There were 978 new students, 112 new transfer students and 866 first time in college.
Student retention also held steady, Hines added, with 78 percent of first-time students returning this fall over fall 2016, compared to 79 percent in the prior year. The University is working to increase student retention in coming years.
“We set an aggressive goal of reaching 83 percent by the 2020 cohort,” Hines said about the incoming class of 2020.