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Subject: Student Enrollment Increases
Contact: Office of the President - 208/792-2216
LCSC Numbers Up 9.3%
Continuing a climb that began with classes in August, Lewis-Clark State College is
reporting increased student numbers of 9.3% in its fall ten-day report to the State Board
of Education. This is the largest percentage increase since 1989, and echoes a momentum
and spirit of growth that has been felt throughout the campus.
The college is reporting a total head count of 2953 students, which reflects an increase
of 9.7% in new, degree-seeking students, and 21% increase in returning students. According
to Director of Enrollment Management, Steve Bussolini, the increased numbers of returning
students suggests that students believe education is important to their financial future.
Adding to the good news regarding increased student numbers, is a high entering grade
point average for enrolled, regularly admitted students. Their GPA rose from 3.00 to
3.07-a significant rise in a range that extends only to 4.0.
Last month, LCSC administrators were cautiously optimistic, when data available during
student orientation showed a modest increase in numbers of students. When faculty and
staff returned from the Labor Day weekend, LCSC President Dene Kay Thomas announced a
preliminary headcount estimating LCSC enrollment up approximately 5% from last year.
Thomas was hopeful the trend would continue, allowing the college to report an even higher
percentage growth by the end of the week, when the all-important ten-day figures were
At the end of the day Wednesday, Thomas had the news she was looking for: As of the tenth
day of classes, student enrollment at the college was officially up 9.3% from last year.
Vice President for Student Affairs, Richard (Deacon) Meier and the Registrar's Office had
numbers that indicated increases in almost all the categories the college tracks.
The ten-day numbers are eagerly awaited each semester as a first-line indicator of the
student population. The totals are calculated at that time in recognition of the fact that
students add and drop classes into the second week of the semester.
Many on campus had already felt the increase in students, just by the sense of action on
campus. Meier commented that, while the computations were great to have in hand, the
atmosphere and bustle on campus indicated more students long before official computations
confirmed the increase in numbers. "The parking lots are full; there's an exuberance
. Everything just says there are more people here," he said.
College administrators were excited about the numbers. President Thomas said,
"Enrollment has been my number one priority, and I'm extremely pleased to see this
sharp increase come so quickly." Provost Rita Morris added, "LCSC prides itself
on being sensitive to the needs of its community and constituents and meeting those needs.
We're excited about the programming we're offering and the things we're doing to increase
(student) retention; it's nice to see it add up."
Student retention, in addition to recruitment, is a priority for the college and Meier's
department in particular. "It's one thing to get them here," he said, "and
another to keep them here. Making their educational experience a good one is every bit as
important to us as signing them up for classes."
To address this goal, the Student Affairs department has a number of activities planned,
starting with in-depth analysis of the enrollment numbers-where students are coming from,
what they're coming for, and specific characteristics of the incoming and existing
classes. "Analysis of the numbers is critical," Meier noted. Numerous other
activities designed to promote student success have been and are being implemented as
well. "This is just the beginning of active enrollment management."
In the midst of the excitement, Thomas pointed out that, while the ten-day numbers are
crucial, the college's budget is actually determined by end-of-semester student numbers.
"The state will use those figures when it considers LCSC's funding for the following
year," she said. As a result, this year's enrollment increase will not really
"show up" until fiscal year 2003.
The news was all good to LCSC officials, however. "Having more students is great no
matter how you look at it." said Meier. "That's right," Thomas added.
"This shows we're able to offer more students-more people from all walks of
life-access to education. Making learning a life-long experience is not just something we
say here; it's something we're serious about doing."