Three-year trend shows marked improvement for size and quality of student body

Topic: Administrative

August 31, 2009

MUNCIE, Ind. — Since 2007, increases in the number and quality of students have been welcomed benchmarks for Ball State University officials. 

The university's strategic plan set goals to increase the number of honors students, attract more international students, increase minority enrollment and continue to improve retention. This year, the university accomplished all four as well as realized an increase in the overall size of the student body. 

"Our ability to attract and retain diverse, high-achieving students demonstrates that Ball State is being viewed as a distinctive university with rigorous programs that will continually challenge bright, young minds," said Tom Taylor, vice president for enrollment, marketing and communications. "The fact that we have consistent, sustained growth in many key categories since 2007 is something in which everyone on campus should take credit." 

There are 17,627 graduate and undergraduate students on campus this fall. That is an increase of 726 students over last year's student body of 16,901, an increase of 4.3 percent. 

Included in that count is the largest Honors College class in recent memory. A total of 343 freshmen will be studying at Ball Honors House, which is an increase of 54, nearly 19 percent over last year's class. More than 61 percent of incoming freshmen completed the Indiana Academic Honors Diploma. In 2007, that figure stood at just under 51 percent. The university's progress is even more impressive when compared to the fact that in 2008, approximately 31 percent of Indiana's high school graduates completed the Academic Honors Diploma. 

There was also an increase in international student enrollment. This fall, there are 243 new international students on campus, an increase over last fall's incoming total of 147.  

New graduate student enrollment increased markedly, with 634 new graduate students on campus this fall, up from 508 a year ago. 

In terms of retention, Ball State slightly exceeded last year's retention rate of more than 78 percent. Maintaining that percentage is impressive considering that so many colleges and universities are seeing declining enrollment, especially with high unemployment and challenging economic conditions, noted Kay Bales, vice president for student affairs.

 

Growth Trends

 

2007

2008

2009

Retention rate

77 %

78.3 %

78.4 %

Students with Academic Honors Diploma

50.9 %

55.6 %

61.1 %

New international students

173

147

243

Minority undergraduate student enrollment

8.9 %

 

 

9.4 %

 

 

10.3 %

 

 

Minority freshman

enrollment

10.8 %

10 %

11.7 %

Overall enrollment

16,828

16,901

17,627

 

Honorable improvements

The increases in Ball State's Honors College can be attributed, in part, to two grand openings this fall. On Sept. 1, the newly refurbished DeHority Complex — the primary residence hall for honors students — will officially open. The 125,000-plus-square-foot facility will house about 550 students. 

A sample of the residence hall's highlights include a main lounge with plush furnishings, a centrally located desk, striking artwork created by Ball State students specifically for DeHority, technology labs, a fitness room, a laundry room using card readers, a game room and a video editing room. 

The second grand opening is the newly renovated Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Honors House, which will take place Oct. 16. After $1.3 million in renovations, the Colonial-style house offers a new home for the Honors College in the heart of campus and just across the street from DeHority


"There's no questioning the symbolic value of the relocation of both our academic quarters and student housing," said James Ruebel, Honors College dean. "Being in the center of campus makes the Honors College a true centerpiece for this university, and both the house and the renovated residence hall are powerful recruiting tools for our growing program."

 
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