For the fourth year in a row, Delta State University is proud to announce an increase in university enrollment.
The preliminary numbers, as of Sept. 8, were 3,035 undergraduate students and 743 graduate students, for a total enrollment of 3,778. The increase of nearly 5.5 percent was the largest increase among the state’s eight public universities this year.
According to Delta State University President William N. LaForge, the growth is due to a number of major institutional efforts.
“I am very pleased with the increase in enrollment for the fall of 2017,” said LaForge. “Early reports indicate we are up 190 students, or nearly 5.5 percent over last year. This significant uptick represents the fourth consecutive increase, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
LaForge credited six major reasons for the enrollment increase:
- A great team of faculty and staff across campus.
- Smarter and more targeted recruiting in high schools and community colleges. This includes doubling community college recruiters, and increasing partnerships with high schools.
- Improved retention rates thanks to engaged faculty and programs such as the Student Success Center and First Year Seminar.
- Signature programs that continue to attract more students, including the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing, Delta Music Institute, Health/Physical Education/Recreation, and Aviation.
- Doubling the number of international students in the last three years.
- Offering a competitive tuition rate with stellar academics, including capstone projects for every major — all at an unparalleled value.
“I would be remiss not to mention that we have a welcoming student environment,” added LaForge. “Students feel very welcomed here and have the total college experience. There’s a buzz on campus, and there’s excitement all around.”
Caitlyn Thompson, director of recruiting, said recruitment efforts have focused on directly communicating with potential students.
“The recruiting staff worked very hard over this past year to reach new students, and one effort that may have contributed to the enrollment increase is the E-Communication Center that was implemented last fall,” said Thompson. “Current Delta State students contacted prospective students to speak with them about topics like campus events, scholarships, admissions deadlines, application reminders and more.”
Tricia Walker, director of the Delta Music Institute, said the DMI program has experienced significant growth over the past few years.
“The sustained growth of the DMI program brought the opportunity to add a faculty member and a studio manager to our ranks in order to better serve our students,” said Walker. “We are grateful to the administration for their support of this unique program. With an incoming class of more than 30 new students this fall, the DMI will exceed 120 majors in our entertainment industry studies program. We are packed and we like it that way.”
Tim Colbert, chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, said HPER is one of the fastest growing majors.
“HPER has good degree options in multiple areas that lead not just to employment, but also sustainable careers with a chance for advancement,” said Colbert. “Our faculty understand how to relate to students on a personal level and help them to deal with their issues to become successful.”
Additionally, Delta State saw another uptick this year in the number of international students. Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center and International Student Services, is proud that the university has doubled its international student body since the spring of 2013.
“We love that our international student population is growing each year,” said Riddle. “International students contribute so much to campus because of their global perspectives and diverse cultures. We welcome them to Delta State and look forward to even more international students for years to come.
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