Enrollment lower than expected but strong signs for future growth
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
CANTON, Mo. – Although official numbers won’t be available until “census day” on September 1, it appears that fall enrollment at Culver-Stockton College has declined this fall.
Total fall enrollment at the college is estimated at 753, with an incoming class of 228, as of the first day of classes August 24. Both numbers are down from the previous year, according to new Culver-Stockton President Dick Valentine, who adds that all signs are favorable that the college is on an upward swing for next year.
“We are certainly not the only college in the country who is feeling some impact from the economic recession this year as students and their families turn to community colleges or colleges that are close enough to home to allow them to commute and reduce living expenses,” Valentine said. “This economic situation has been especially challenging for colleges like ours who are residential campuses with relatively few commuter students. In addition, it is common for colleges to see some uncertainty in their enrollment during a year when they are transitioning to new leadership.”
Valentine became president of Culver-Stockton on July 1, replacing President William Fox who had led the college for six years.
Valentine noted that the college is pleased to see an increase to 38 percent in the number of minority and international students who help make up the student body. “We have our first student from American Samoa, as well as students from Canada, Haiti, the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain and Turkey,” he said. “Having our campus interact on a daily basis with this broad a group from other cultures is an enriching experience for all of us.”
As the economy rebounds, Valentine expects C-SC enrollment to return to growth. For the past three years, C-SC has enrolled at least 300 students each fall and, in 2008, had the highest freshman enrollment in 10 years. “Students who have had to put their education on hold because of economic conditions at home will return. More students will transfer to Culver-Stockton to complete their bachelor’s degree, and more freshmen who have expressed an interest in our EXP@CSC curriculum will be able to take advantage of what we have to offer,” Valentine added.
Other indicators point to the continuing strength of Culver-Stockton, he said, noting last week’s announcement that C-SC has gone up six notches in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and that fund-raising to date is significantly above the same period in 2008.
“Our academic reputation is growing as we see the results of implementing a curriculum that combines our liberal arts tradition with exceptional and innovative opportunities for students to gain experience in their fields of interest,” Valentine said. “We have everything in place to be successful, and I am fully confident that our enrollment will increase as our year-old curriculum continues to prove itself.”
Valentine, who was dean of admission at Culver-Stockton in the ‘80s and nearly doubled C-SC enrollment at that time, said he has set a goal of reaching 1,000 students in just a few years.
“We have a lot of work to do, but we will accomplish our goals,” he added.
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