WINONA, Minn. – Enrollment at Winona State University remains strong despite declining numbers of graduating high school seniors in the Midwest. This fall’s new incoming freshman and new incoming transfer student populations are the largest in the university’s 153-year-history.
Enrollment figures taken on the tenth day of the fall 2011 semester reveal a total student headcount of 8,896, four percent higher than last fall's tenth-day headcount of 8,543.
“We're working really hard to do all the right things to recruit and support students at Winona State,” said Connie Gores, vice president for Student Life and Development.
“Our approach includes maintaining strong academic programming in the face of significant budget pressures, offering diverse housing options such as our New Residence Halls, providing holistic wellness programming and facilities, and overall efforts to increase our regional and national profile.”
Rochester Campus Continues Upward Trend
For the third year in a row WSU-Rochester is experiencing significant enrollment growth in its undergraduate programs. Current reports show an increase of almost nine percent in its undergraduate headcount (from 547 to 595) and a more than four percent increase in credit hours (from 6,150 to 6,430). Overall, for the current fall semester there are a total of 803 undergraduate and graduate students at WSU-Rochester registered for more than 7,789 credits, up from 784 students and 7,648 credits at the same time during fall 2010.
Ted Reilly, assistant vice president for academic affairs at WSU-Rochester, said the enrollment gains are an indicator that WSU-Rochester is filling a critical need for the Rochester area.
“We are working with students to cultivate a stronger campus community in Rochester, with an emphasis on outstanding service and meaningful activities," said Reilly. "I think we are starting to see some of the fruits of that labor in our enrollment numbers. Whether they are new students, transfer students from Rochester Community and Technical College or returning WSU-Rochester students, we are delighted they are choosing WSU-Rochester.”
Retention Rates Increase
Retention rates increased this fall for Winona State. From 2010 to 2011 the retention rate from freshman year to sophomore year rose to more than 78 percent, the highest in recent history.
“We’re doubly pleased that students are staying with us,” said Gores. “Retention is a strong indicator of student satisfaction and student success, and when we retain students it’s more cost effective than recruiting new students.”
WSU’s online enrollment also continues to be strong, with 1,333 seats in courses delivered entirely online this fall, up from 886 in fall 2010.
“While the increase in overall enrollment is welcome, our primary focus continues to be attracting students who will be successful at Winona State and ensuring they are well-prepared for the role they will play in the Minnesota workforce,” said Gores.
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About Winona State University
Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive, regional public university with almost 8,900 students. The oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, WSU offers more than 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate and doctorate programs on its three campuses in Winona and Rochester. Winona State ranks as the second public institution in Minnesota in the 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report's “Best Colleges,” has been named among the "Best in the Midwest" by The Princeton Review for the eighth consecutive year, and has been featured as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys for quality and value for 15 years in a row. The university’s mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities we serve: a community of learners improving our world. For more information, visit: www.winona.edu.