Fall enrollment sets record

Northwestern College’s enrollment is at an all-time high, with 1,342 students attending classes this fall. That figure is a 5.4 percent increase from last year, and it eclipses the previous record of 1,313 set in 2002.

Northwestern has 1,290 students enrolled full time and an FTE (full-time equivalent) of 1,307.

“We are very excited about this year’s record enrollment,” says Mark Bloemendaal, director of admissions. “It is an affirmation of the work done by people across campus and of the kind of place Northwestern is.”

A key factor in Northwestern’s enrollment was record retention of students. Eighty percent of last year’s freshmen returned this year, as did 68 percent of sophomores, both records.

“The retention rates reflect that Northwestern students are convinced they’re receiving quality and value,” says Bloemendaal. “They are able to get the classes they want and need, and they recognize we’re committed to helping them be successful in reaching their educational goals.”

The admissions office exceeded its recruiting goal, with 363 new freshmen enrolling. “Students and their parents are realizing Northwestern has a lot of good things to offer. The message of quality education in a Christian environment—that you don’t have to sacrifice anything academically to be in this environment—is being heard,” says Bloemendaal.

This year’s enrollment figures show an increase in the percentage of male students, American ethnic minorities and international students. Thirty-one states and 23 foreign countries are represented in the student body. Fifty-five percent of Northwestern’s students are from Iowa.

The mean composite ACT score of new freshmen is 24.2. Nearly 28 percent of the freshmen graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class; their average high school grade point average was 3.50.

“Top students are being attracted to Northwestern because of our academic reputation and strong co-curricular programs, in addition to the faith-based character of the school,” says Bloemendaal.

Over the last 15 years, Northwestern’s enrollment has increased by 31.4 percent. This year’s figures are 15.7 percent higher than those of 10 years ago and a 3.7 percent increase over five years ago.