February 25, 2014

NAD College/University Enrollment Trends Upward

The overall headcount enrollment in the 14 Seventh-day
Adventist colleges and universities rose significantly in 2013 compared to the
previous year, reports the North American Division (NAD) Office of Education.
Data indicate that four of the 14 higher education institutions drove the upward
momentum with large increases in headcount enrollment: La Sierra University,
which experienced its highest enrollment ever with 2,478 students; Loma Linda
University, which showed a 12-percent increase over four years; Pacific Union
College, with its highest enrollment in 24 years; and Union College, which
increased by 19 students compared to the previous year. Some Adventist colleges
and universities, however, showed a decrease in student numbers.

Colleges Universities PicENROLLMENT TRENDS: NAD Higher Education Student Enrollment Trends—2004–2013 [Graph courtesy of NAD Education]" class="img-right">Although the overall student headcount
enrollment rose, the full-time equivalency (FTE) decreased by 23 percent compared
to 2012, explains Larry Blackmer, NAD vice president for education. “This
signals a shift from full-time students to part-time or adult evening or online
students,” he says.

The belief that providing online education
is necessary to support the mission of the church prompted the General
Conference Executive Committee during its Spring Meeting in 2010 to vote to merge
Griggs University with Andrews University. Since then, the number of students studying
online with Adventist universities “has grown by leaps and bounds,” says Alayne
Thorpe, dean of the School of Distance Education at Andrews University.
“Online education makes it possible for Adventist universities to reach new
audiences of students—adults, Adventists in public schools, non-Adventists,”
Thorpe told Adventist Review. “The
shift to serving more students online creates an opportunity for Adventist
schools to extend not only academic offerings but the community of Christian
education that supports personal and spiritual development.”

“The recent increases in
enrollment evidence that our institutions of higher learning—both on-campus and
online—continue to provide quality Adventist education,” Blackmer adds. “The
mission of these educational facilities is being played out on their campuses
and in their communities. We’re deeply grateful for God’s leading and blessings
for our young people and our schools.”

AR staff with information provided by NAD Office of Education