Confirming figures reported at the recent Indiana University of Pennsylvania Council of Trustees meeting, IUP officials said Monday that new student undergraduate enrollment is up by more than 4 percent for fall 2022.
“We are very pleased to see these increases, and other positive trends related to this important work, especially in light of declining numbers of high school graduates in Pennsylvania, and a decline nationally in the college-going rate,” IUP President Dr. Michael A. Driscoll said.
IUP’s 1,724 new first-time students for fall 2022 is an increase of 68 over the fall of 2021, bucking a trend reported by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
The center said college and university enrollment was down 6.6 percent or more than one million students between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2021, the latest period for which national numbers are available,
IUP officials said it also reverses a five-year dip of new student enrollment and is part of a pattern of positive news related to overall fall enrollment, including the academic quality of new students at IUP.
Additionally, the university said, the number of students in career preparation programs is the largest since 2019, increasing this fall by 14 percent from 299 to 322, including 28 in criminal justice, 148 in the Academy of Culinary Arts in Punxsutawney, 40 in paramedic training, 34 in emergency medical training, and 20 in school resource officer training.
“The growth in our career preparation programs in hospitality and health and safety are important to filling critical national workforce needs,” Driscoll said.
The new students have an average high school grade point average of 3.4, up from 3.37 a year ago.
Also, 1,234 or 71 percent of the newly-enrolled students graduated from high school with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Some of those enrolled at IUP are still in high school.
Dual enrollment (high school students enrolled in IUP courses) is up by 62.5 percent over fall 2021, with 91 students from high schools throughout the commonwealth — the highest number of dual enrollment students since 2009 — being enrolled in IUP coursework.
“Offering the dual enrollment opportunity for qualified and promising young students is very important to us,” IUP Vice President for Enrollment Management Dr. Patricia McCarthy said. “Not only does it provide a very affordable option for students to begin their studies, it also opens the door to new possibilities for students who may not be certain about attending college. This is a great way to acclimate to the expectations of both academics and university life, and begin this next chapter in their education.”
On Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. at Indiana Area High School, parents and students can learn more about dual enrollment at IUP, in a program open to high school juniors and seniors with spring registration opening this coming Monday.
Up north, dual enrollment at IUP’s Punxsutawney campus was up 20 students from fall 2022.
As was pointed out Monday night by Indiana Area School Superintendent Michael J. Vuckovich, IUP discounts dual enrollment classes by 75 percent.
He told the Indiana Area school board that students seeking dual enrollment must have a minimum 3.0 overall GPA, and be recommended by their high school counselor.
Meanwhile, the Punxsutawney Area College Trust now funds the remaining 25 percent of the cost for students at Punxsutawney Area High School.
“The support from PACT is intended to make a difference in the lives of students and families, by eliminating some of the financial barriers to a college degree,” said IUP Council of Trustees Chairman Sam Smith, a one-time state legislator from Punxsutawney. “It is very gratifying, especially in light of demographic challenges, to see the increase in new students for fall, and the strong enrollment in our career preparation programs, including the Academy of Culinary Arts, as we move forward to enhance our facilities through the long-range building plan for the academy.”
Enrollment results at IUP reflect trends found throughout the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, according to Dr. Dan Greenstein, chancellor of the state-owned multi-university network that includes IUP.
“To me these trends suggest that through our System’s Redesign our universities are positioning themselves to serve more Pennsylvanians even better – offering all affordable, high-quality pathways that lead to sustaining careers,” Greenstein said. “Our work reducing the cost of attending a PASSHE university, ensuring programs of study equip students to excel in the workforce today as well as tomorrow, expanding access to high-school and community college transfer students, and reaching out to adults who need to re-skill and up-skill is beginning to bear fruit.”
IUP also reported a two percent increase in international students enrolled for fall 2022. In all, there are 403 students from 64 countries — up from 52 countries represented a year ago.
The percentage of international students enrolled in graduate programs is at its highest point since fall 2019, and enrollment in the American Language Institute is up by 126 percent, with a total of 43 students.
Almost 2,000 students identify themselves as minority, or 19 percent, comparable with fall 2020 and fall 2021 enrollment.
Overall, 27 percent of the IUP student body are international or minority students, with nearly 2,000 students identifying themselves as minorities, a figure comparable to the past two years. IUP also reported that 559 students are from outside Pennsylvania.
“Our world and our country are growing more diverse and I’m pleased to see this strong reflection of that in our enrollment,” Driscoll said. “Having students from many different backgrounds enriches learning for all of us.”