NEWBERRY — Newberry College enrolled a record high 381 new students, easing past its previous high water mark of 379 set in 2014. The incoming class increased by 10 percent compared to the 347 students who constituted the incoming class for 2015.
Enrollment for the incoming class included 287 freshmen, 80 transfers and 14 readmits. Overall, the College enrollment reached 1,070 students for the fall 2016 semester, a slight increase over last year.
• 76 percent of the incoming class hail from South Carolina and 75 percent of the overall student population are South Carolina residents.
• Out-of-state enrollment draws primarily from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, which is comparable to the geographic distribution of the overall student body: South Carolina (808), Georgia (33), North Carolina (30), Virginia (30) and Florida (20).
• International enrollment accounts for 2 percent of the incoming class. International students make up 4 percent of the overall student population drawn from 15 countries, including Canada, France, Bolivia, Australia, India and Mexico.
• 52 percent of the incoming class (199 students) are recruited student-athletes who play on one the College’s 17 Division II teams as well as cheerleading and dance.
• 48 percent of the incoming class (182 students) are non-student-athletes, an all-time high for new student recruitment at Newberry College.
• Top five majors by overall enrollment are Business Administration/Accounting, Sport Management/Physical Education, Nursing, Biology and Teacher Education.
Dean of Enrollment Management Joel Vander Horst said the College’s strategy of streamlining the admission process and engaging students and their families earlier in the recruitment process has led to double-digit increases at nearly every stage of the recruitment process.
“We focused a great deal of effort over the past year on eliminating possible friction points in the enrollment process to make a more student-centered experience,” Vander Horst said. “We revised or eliminated outdated policies, retooled our campus visit programming and focused on cultivating a spirit of hospitality.”
Director of Financial Aid Danielle Bell noted the Newberry College Loan Repayment Promise has attracted significant interest from families. A new program offered to the 2016 incoming class, it guarantees students if they earn less than $36,000 after graduating from Newberry College, the College will help repay their loans on a sliding scale based on their earnings.
“For families who use student loans to pay the portion of tuition not covered by institutional scholarships and other forms of aid, the Loan Repayment Promise offers them the peace of mind of having a financial safety net after graduation.”
Bell also noted that her team has placed greater emphasis on providing personalized support for students and their families to ensure they navigate the complexities of the financial aid process.
“Families can feel overwhelmed by the complexities of financial aid, so we’ve worked to make it as stress-free as possible,” Bell said. “We typically work one-on-one with families to guide them through the steps and put together the best possible financial aid package. We offer very personalized support; it’s definitely not a cookie cutter approach.”
Vander Horst noted that the largest enrollment gains this year have come from majors in which Newberry College has long enjoyed a dominant position.
“We’ve seen continued growth in areas of historic strength for us” Vander Horst said. “Based on an analysis of inquiries from prospective students and declared majors for enrolled students, we expanded our Nursing cohort by 33 percent and added the Criminal Justice major.”
Newberry College President Dr. Maurice Scherrens noted that recruiting new students is one side of the enrollment management coin; the other is retention of current students.
“Improvements in both recruitment and retention are two pillars of our campus strategic plan and we will be unveiling recommendations to improve retention later this semester,” Scherrens said. “A key focus of our efforts is to continue creating a positive student experience that supports persistence to graduation.”
This release was provided by Newberry College.