The number of students enrolled at Northwestern in the 2016 fall semester is up from previous years.
From the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2015, enrollment only increased by five students. Since then, enrollment has increased by 50 students. With this increase from the fall of 2015 to the fall of 2016, the total number of students has risen from 1,210 students to 1,260. These numbers include both graduate and undergraduate students.
Mark Bloemendaal, Dean of Enrollment and Marketing, attributes the increase in students to several factors. When looking at numbers alone, a few distinct components stand out.
“We had a larger freshman class this year,” Bloemendaal said. “We had excellent retention, and a record number of new transfer students.”
Numbers alone do not adequately explain the increase. Bloemendaal believes there are other factors that have contributed to the higher levels of enrollment. One such factor is the substantial financial aid offered at NW, compared to other private institutions and universities.
“Generous financial aid allows us to be more affordable than most private colleges,” Bloemendaal said.
Research from IPEDS, a national clearinghouse for college data has found that on average, students at NW pay less for tuition than students at most of NW’s closest private college competitors.
Another factor Bloemendaal attributes to the increased enrollment at NW is the distinct and personal experience and attention provided for students at NW.
“Personal attention from faculty and staff makes a NW experience unique for each student,” Bloemendaal said.
Along with experience comes the Christian academic community offered at NW, a unique aspect most other colleges do not have.
“NW offers an excellent academic program complemented by robust student life and Christian formation programs,” Bloemendaal said.
While enrollment has increased this year from the past, the fall of 2016 does not signify a record number of students attending NW.
NW’s highest enrollment total was 1,342 students in the fall of 2006.
At that point in time, there were no graduate students to contribute to that number. Since adding the graduate and adult learning program, enrollment has increased. The program is expected to continue to increase in numbers.
“Adding graduate students definitely played a role in increased enrollment at NW,” Bloemendaal said.
As the years progress, NW hopes to continually increase the number of students enrolled by working with the admissions department in intentionally recruiting prospective students to visit the campus and consider attending NW.
“If students have siblings or friends they think would be a good fit for NW, please make sure the admissions office knows about them,” Bloemendaal said. “We’d be happy to follow up with them and schedule a visit to campus.”