Clarion, Pa.- Clarion University’s total enrollment is stronger than expected for the 2015-2016 academic year according to university officials. Total enrollment for the 2015-2016 academic year stands at 5,368, a roughly 6 percent decrease from the 2014-2015 academic year where total enrollment stood at 5,712.
Across the past two academic years, total university enrollment has dropped roughly 12 percent. This decrease is predicated by larger graduating classes being replaced with noticeably smaller incoming classes according to Clarion Provost Ron Nowaczyk, Ph.D. While the most substantial drops in total enrollment have already occurred in previous years, the reverberations of a decreasing student population continue to be felt.
In response, the university has taken several measures in order to attract more potential students and help retain its current student body. Notably, the addition of the brand new Main Street Suites to replace the outdated and no longer suitable Wilkinson Hall and Nair Hall are aimed to provide incoming students with a more modern, aesthetically pleasing living space. The first of the pair of buildings is open as of the start of the 2015-2016 school year, with its counterpart soon opening for business in January 2016.
These new residence halls include, along with up-to-date dormitories, several recreational areas, such as a movie theater, a Denny’s restaurant and a refurbished Starbucks for students to frequent and enjoy. Renovations have also been completed for Becht Hall and Ralston Hall, which will now serve as an all-purpose student aid facility and a retooled space to further accommodate the university’s expanding nursing program, respectively. These significant makeovers and brand new facilities should, ideally, help stem the tide of persistent enrollment declines.
Additionally, Clarion University has introduced several new degrees and academic programs to attract potential students and meet various demands. The university’s first doctorate program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, began accepting its first students in the previous summer session. Three new bachelor’s degrees: the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in paralegal studies, the Bachelor of Science in sports management and the online Bachelor of Science in criminal justice administration have also been introduced.
A new master’s program, the Master of Science in applied data analytics also began accepting students this fall. These new degrees are designed to meet student interests and provide a more versatile, robust educational experience. Existing programs, such as education and finance, have experienced an increased level of enrollment as well with the university looking to improve retention, academic performance and practical opportunities in those fields.
Following the introduction of David McFarland as the director of scholarships, Clarion University has announced its plan for a new merit-based scholarship for incoming 2016 freshmen. Scholarship awards starting at $1,000 will be available to students with a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher, an SAT score of at least 1,000 or an ACT score of at least 21. This scholarship is designed to help make Clarion University more affordable to prospective students while simultaneously rewarding those who have a proven record of academic success.
Regarding the current state of total university enrollment, President Karen M. Whitney said that she is “thrilled that we have maintained our enrollment of our freshman class and enrolled students with a higher high school GPA and SAT scores.”
You can visit the office of admissions located in Room 314 in Becht Hall to pose any questions about recent enrollment or future student admissions.