SRU opens spring semester with enrollment gain


happy students taking a sunny outdoors selfie

Jan. 27, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Given the demographic decline in the number of college bound students, it's easy to understand why colleges and universities across the country are struggling to meet enrollment goals. Not so at Slippery Rock University.

The University opened the spring 2017 semester with 8,307 students, an increase of 1.49 percent, when compared to last year's figure of 8,185. Graduate student headcount increased by 78 students (7.18 percent), while undergraduate headcount increased by 44 students (.62 percent).

"We are extremely proud that once again our University is one of a few institutions to start the spring semester with an enrollment gain," said SRU President Cheryl Norton.

"The University works very hard to make sure we deliver a high-quality education, at an affordable price, and that meets the needs of current and future students and current and future employers. We continue to invest in market-driven programs such as our physician assistant and cyber-security programs, among others. We're also being more responsive to delivering coursework in a variety of formats and venues that meet student needs," she said.

"It is that solid and sustained enrollment that allows the University to retain one of the top spots on Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education's financial dashboard."

Launched in 2015, the State System financial dashboard assess a variety of metrics across the areas of market demand, operating efficiency and financial performance. The latest dashboard, issued in January, showed that for the third year in a row SRU had received a "green," or low risk, ranking; and for the second year in a row, SRU has improved its risk profile to rank second among the 14 universities in the State System.

"The enrollment growth we've experienced has greatly contributed to our improvement in the risk assessments conducted by the State System and presented to the Board of Governors," said Molly Mercer, associate vice president of finance. "That growth is a strong contributor to our revenue, state appropriation levels and our overall financial health."

Mercer added that within the risk dashboard, metrics linked to enrollment include those focused on projected demand, brand strength and matriculation, noting that SRU demonstrates excellent ratings in each of these areas.

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