SRU fall enrollment eclipses 8,800 students

Students on campus

Sept. 19, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The numbers are in. According to Slippery Rock University's official 15-day-of classes report, 8,824 students are attending SRU this semester.

For fall 2018, SRU enrolled 7,538 undergraduate and a record 1,286 graduate students compared to 2017's enrollment of 7,638 undergraduate and 1,257 graduate students. Graduate student enrollment is up 29 students, or 2.3 percent, from one year ago. Undergraduate student enrollment decreased by 100 students or 1.31 percent from fall 2017.

Overall, SRU saw an enrollment decline of less than 1 percent (.80) from the fall 2017 high-water mark of 8,895 students. That tally established the University's all-time enrollment record.

"No one enjoys seeing an enrollment decrease regardless of how small the number may be," said SRU President William Behre. "But at the same time, no one is overly concerned with such a small blip, which is really what this is, especially when you consider the continuing demographic decline of high school graduates.

"Nonetheless, we continue to look strategically at our approach in regard to how we may better reach out and serve underrepresented students, rural populations and adult learners."

Overall, total in-state enrollment decreased by 47 students (7,857 compared to 7,904). Graduate student in-state enrollment increased 1.95 percent, to 1,097 students, while out-of-state posted a 3.93 percent, or seven student bump.

Total undergraduate credit hours generated are down slightly, dropping 1.11 percent, graduate total credit hours were flat with 10,611.5 hours.

"New market-driven academic programs, merit- and need-based scholarships, a culture focused on student success and a very vibrant living and learning environment are the features that combine to help set SRU apart from other institutions when you look at universities today," said Amanda Yale, associate provost for enrollment management. "That's a big reason our numbers have remained near steady from a year ago.

"We continue to create new academic programs that have a large market demand today and are predicted to do well into the future. There's a lot of research that goes into choosing what programs to create and which ones will be the right fit for a new first year, transfer or graduate student considering SRU as their first-choice option for undergraduate or graduate study or both.

"We are building program options in which students can complete their baccalaureate degrees and earn an advanced degree in our 3+2 and 3+3 academic program options. We are building online graduate programs and undergraduate degree completion programs for working adults with busy work and family lives. Each of the programs are in high demand and popular with our undergraduate and graduate students."

The availability of scholarships also continues to play a major factor in a student's choice of institution, Yale said.

"Through scholarships supported by the University and the SRU Foundation, this academic year will see more than $5.8 million in academic merit- and need-based scholarship monies provided to students. Those monies are a major financial resource for our students to reach their dreams of attaining a college education, reduce debt load and recognize student achievement. The University has already approved an increase in scholarships for the next recruitment year."

Yale is referring to Behre's Sept. 13 announcement that SRU will be committing $400,000 of its budget surplus from last year to scholarships for students from underrepresented groups. Behre told attendees at his State of the University address, "(These monies mark) an additional $100,000 to be awarded for (next) fall that will be guaranteed to continue for four years. In truth, this is not enough, but it is a start - and, we must start somewhere."

While first-time, full-time freshman enrollment is down 43 students from one year ago (1,553/1,596), the quality of those incoming students continues its upward trajectory with increases in overall high school GPA (3.44/3.42); and average SAT score (1,013/1,007).

"The quality of the freshman class continues to be strong," Yale said. "We're being very strategic in making sure the students that are enrolling at SRU will be successful."

New graduate student enrollment jumped by 58 or 13.43 percent, to 490.

SRU's FTE enrollment - a measure of how many students are taking full study loads that then generates a given number of credit hours - decreased slightly, 0.99 percent, to 8,269 from last year's 8.352.

There are 5,171 women on campus, down 1.62 percent and 3,653 men, an increase of .38 percent from last year.

The University also showed diversity growth with increases in American Indian/Alaskan Native (12.5 percent); Asian (7.59 percent); Hispanic (10 percent); two or more races (1.26 percent) and Unknown (34.86 percent) students.

Day 15 credit hours totaled 121,384.5 compared to 122,626 reported for fall 2017, a decrease of 1,241.5 or 1.01 percent.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 | robb.king@sru.edu