MOUNT VERNON — A campus-wide recruitment effort enabled Mount Vernon Nazarene University to celebrate strong enrollment numbers for fall 2020, the school announced in a press release on Wednesday.
The numbers may be surprising as many surveys projected fewer students on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our fall enrollment is a testimony to the energy and commitment of our admissions team and the desire of our students to be here. God has blessed us with a great community that attracts and retains students,” said MVNU President Henry W. Spaulding II, Ph.D.
First-time college admissions numbers jumped to 345, and overall enrollment in the traditional undergraduate program remained steady at 1,393. Enrollment in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies also remains steady with 379 in undergraduate programs and 369 pursuing advanced degrees, bring the university’s total enrollment for fall 2020 to 2,141.
“This year truly is the result of campus-wide efforts over the past several years,” said Vice President for University Relations James Smith. “We have added academic programs like engineering, health sciences, and speech language pathology and audiology (communication sciences and disorders). We have expanded current athletic programs and added new reserve and varsity programs including e-sports, bowling, competitive cheerleading, men’s lacrosse, and women’s lacrosse is coming in the fall of 2021.
"We have taken on new initiatives in graduate and professional studies and expanded our offerings and reach. This campus community continues to rally together to innovate, adapt, and work together to find new ways to thrive, even in the midst of challenges.”
The spring and summer months were perhaps the most challenging recruitment season in university history as COVID-19 not only shut down the campus prematurely during spring semester, but forced admissions counselors to think outside the box to create innovative opportunities to reach and connect with potential students. Their efforts resulted in an increase of 21 first-time college students over 2019’s 324 first-time students.
“The Admissions, Student Financial Services, and Marketing teams may have spent spring and summer 2020 working remotely, but never stopped working to bring in the new class by creating virtual visits and events, making phones calls, sending texts, using social media and hosting countless one-on-one Zoom meetings. Our enrollment numbers reflect their hard work,” said Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing Beth DaLonzo.
Retaining upperclassmen was also key as MVNU’s administration and the COVID-19 Response Task Force developed the Return to The Vern fall semester plan with a holistic approach to academics, student life, and campus health during a global pandemic.
“We understood early on that some students would be uncomfortable, or at high risk, returning to campus, and that isolation/quarantine issues would also remove students from class periodically,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Barney Cochran. “To compensate, we adopted a challenging, but highly flexible, teaching and learning model that enables traditional students who are away from campus to continue to engage their classes remotely.
"Clearly, this model has empowered some students to continue in their studies who would not have been able to otherwise.”
The top five majors selected by traditional freshmen this fall are elementary education/intervention, nursing, biology, Christian ministries and business administration.
MVNU’s online adult education programs continue to expand with new offerings including a Bachelor of Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry with an ordination track.
“In an increasingly competitive online education market, MVNU GPS has reestablished itself as a leader in the marketplace — delivering high quality, distinctively Christian, affordable programs for working adults. The 2019-20 GPS academic year finished with a 4% increase in average headcount since 2018. This growth is a result of new marketing efforts, a strengthened recruiter program, enhanced retention efforts, and a successful new recruit-back program,” said Vice President for Graduate and Professional Studies and Dean of the School of GPS Eric Stetler. “Standout program growth during this time period include Graduate Business (11% increase), Graduate Education (50% increase), and the online Elementary Education (37% increase). In business, we have added four new in-demand concentrations in Data Analytics, Logistics, Accounting, and Marketing.
"In education, our strong reputation continues to grow among educators and those seeking to learn from a compassionate and Christian worldview.”
For more information on MVNU programs and admissions, visit www.mvnu.edu.