Slippery Rock University enrolls largest class in 127-year history

students on the quad walking to class

Sept. 21, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Call it an enrollment trifecta. Call it a clean sweep. Or, call it a hat trick. But whatever you call it, call it successful.

With 15th day enrollment numbers now official, Slippery Rock University posted gains in student headcount, full-time equivalency students and credit-hour production.

The result: The largest enrollment in the institution's 127-year history.

"This is truly a remarkable achievement, especially against a backdrop of a continuing demographic decline in high school graduates," said Cheryl Norton, SRU president.

"Everyone at the University deserves a pat on the back for helping us to achieve this significant goal. Since I've arrived at the University, I've wanted everyone to be focused on making SRU the 'best choice, first choice' institution for students and I think our numbers support that as evidenced by this historic mark. It truly is something not just to celebrate, but to recognize in terms of the dedication and hard work that everyone who lives, works and studies here puts forth."

Slippery Rock University enrollment has reached 8,881 students, an increase of 2.98 percent from one year ago. Included in that figure is graduate enrollment that is up 16.46 percent according to the University's official 15th-day-of classes report.

"New academic programs, scholarships and a very vibrant living and learning environment are three things that combine to help set SRU apart from other institutions when you look at the higher education climate right now," said Amanda Yale, associate provost for enrollment management.

"We are creating new academic programs that have a market demand. But we're not just creating new programs for the sake of creating them. There's a lot of research that goes behind choosing what programs to create and which ones will be the right fit for a new student coming to SRU. Our most recent development of the physician assistant program is a very good example that has incredible market demand and is a graduate program that will also serve as a tremendous feeder for new freshman coming in who want to stay at the same school as they go on to grad school in a 3+2 environment."

Yale added that the availability of scholarships plays a major factor in deciding on a student's choice of institution and that SRU does its best to provide the most. "This academic year will see more than $4.2 million in academic scholarship monies provided to students, which are supported by the University and the SRU Foundation. Those monies are a major financial resource for our students and families; helping to reduce debt load in addition to recognizing student achievement."

Students at Slippery Rock University have long been able to take advantage of the University's Living Learning Communities. The LLC's provide students with what one would expect from a normal residence hall experience, but with the added benefit of living among like-minded students sharing similar academic goals and interests. That opportunity is another key factor is SRU's enrollment success according to Yale.

"When prospective families and students visit our environment, they see current students, staff and faculty that very engaged and very personal with them," said Yale. "We include a heavy dose of faculty in our open house programming that a lot of other institutions don't. But in doing so, we're giving those families and students a real touch point for what and who we are as a community. Everyone that takes part plays an incredible role and that shows attendees how involved we are in their learning from Day One and that resonates with them, providing them with a real feeling of engagement and belonging."

Another key drawing card for the 2016-2017 academic year was Norton's decision to freeze student fees for traditional housing, parking, health services, the student center, student recreation and student life enhancement. "We remain deeply committed to access, affordability and excellence - the critical ingredients of our public mission," she said. "To that end, I am pleased we were able to freeze these fees while still providing an exceptional experience for our students."

For fall 2016, SRU enrolled 7,664 undergraduate and 1,217 graduate students compared to 2015's enrollment of 7,579 undergraduate and 1,045 graduate students.

Total in-state enrollment rose by 283 students, offsetting a minuscule loss in total out-of-state enrollment at 21 students from one year ago. Graduate student in-state enrollment increased 18.9 percent, to 1,057 students, while out-of-state also saw a bump of 3.97 percent or six students.

Undergraduate total credit hours generated are up by 1.57 percent, while graduate total credit hours generated are up by an incredible 23.91 percent thanks in large part to the physician assistant program. The program, housed at the Harrisville Building, received more than 500 applications for admission with 120 potential candidates being interviewed for 52 available slots.

New freshman enrollment is up by 40 students to 1,564, narrowly missing SRU's institutional record of 1,586 from 2014. New transfer enrollment is also up from a year ago, to 615 students, an increase of 40.

SRU's FTE enrollment - a measure of how many students are taking full study loads that then generates a given number of credit hours - rose 3.34 percent to 8,308.

In addition, SRU's incoming freshman class has seen increases in students ranked in the top 25 percent of their graduating class (36.4 percent compared to 35.3 percent); overall GPA (3.39/3.30); and GPA of 3.0+ (81.8 percent/80.7 percent).

There are 5,259 women on campus, up 2.69 percent and 3,622 men, an increase of 3.4 percent.

The University also showed diversity growth with increases in American Indian/Alaskan native (20 percent); Asian (9.18 percent); Black (5.29 percent); and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (14.29 percent) students.

Day 15 credit hours totaled 122,248 as compared to 118,674 reported for fall 2015, an increase of 3,574 or 3 percent.

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