First-year enrollment on the rise
Long lines in the cafeteria and busier sidewalks at this time of year are usually attributed to an unusually large incoming first-year class. This year first-year enrollment is up 10% from three years ago.
Although this year’s first-year class consists of 682 new Luther students, Vice President for Enrollment Management Scot Schaeffer makes it apparent that Luther can handle the challenges large class sizes bring.
“As the semester goes, the first few weeks are hectic,” Schaeffer said. “There always seems to be more people on campus now than when everyone gets settled in and finds a routine.”
This year’s first-year class size of 682 compares to 614, 635 and 650 for the entering classes of 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. Though such large classes would seem to pose housing and class issues, Schaeffer is confident of the college’s abilities when ushering such large numbers of incoming students.
“We always seem to handle it,” Schaeffer said. “There have been years where we have had more bodies on campus.”
The consistent level of students who drop out or transfer affects how Luther handles the rising enrollment. The number of first-year students who leave Luther is regularly between 20 and 25 people.
According to Schaeffer, over the last 20 years, Luther has seen a consistent flux of rising and falling enrollment. For the future, he hopes to change this.
“What I’m watching for is for us to break that pattern,” Schaeffer said. “What we would rather do is achieve a consistent level of 680 to 685 new students a year.”
In regards to expanding class sizes, Schaeffer has a firm opinion.
“There have been no significant growth conversations,” said Schaeffer. “We have a retention rate of 88 percent [so] we consider growth in a different way.”