Grace College and Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana, has announced that, in its 75th anniversary celebration year, it has a record-breaking enrollment of 1,821 students.
The record enrollment, propelled by 407 new students this fall, results from Grace College’s innovative, market-driven responses to a rapidly changing higher educational landscape increasingly shaped by concerns about college affordability and accessibility, according to a news release from the college.
Recognizing that rising college costs are a significant burden and growing barrier to students, in 2011, Grace College launched an innovative three-year accelerated degree program for all 60 majors, allowing students to graduate sooner, save a year’s tuition and enter the workforce a year earlier. The program also allows students to benefit from free online summer courses. National statistics indicate the average undergraduate spends five years completing a bachelor’s degree.
Grace College is the first private college in Indiana – and one of the few public or private universities nationally – to offer a three-year degree program across its curriculum. Grace’s program innovation has attracted the attention of Congress, state legislators and national media.
At a time when parents and students increasingly consider quality and affordability in their consideration of educational options, forty-nine percent of entering freshmen this year indicated an intent to pursue the three-year degree option. In 2011, forty-eight percent of entering freshmen identified Grace’s three-year degree program as a significant factor in their college selection decision.
New online graduate and adult programs, along with the launch of additional educational sites in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, also contributed to Grace College’s significant enrollment growth, according to the release.
A remarkable 85 percent retention rate of students from their freshman to sophomore year also has positively impacted student enrollment at Grace College. This figure considerably exceeds the 70 percent national average for schools similar to Grace. Grace officials attribute the impressive retention rates to Grace’s three-year degree program and the stellar student support services offered.
“Grace College is committed to continued program innovation and educational leadership to keep a high quality, faith-based education accessible and affordable for all families,” said Grace College Provost Dr. William Katip. “We are pleased to see the increased number of students, including those attending our new sites in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, who are directly benefiting from our aggressive attempts to adapt educational models and address escalating costs to better serve savvy educational consumers seeking better higher educational options.”