Gannon University has welcomed its largest freshman class in six years in the 2017/18 academic year.
According to William R. Edmondson, vice president for enrollment, Gannon enrolled 4,149 students for fall 2017.
Although the freshman class for this year was the largest of recent years, the university’s overall enrollment goal was not quite met. Edmondson said that this shortfall was caused by a lack of global graduate students.
Gannon uses the term global to refer to its international students.
Because of the missed goal of enrollment, Edmondson said that the budget did need to be adjusted accordingly in order to remain balanced.
While making the adjustments to the budget, faculty worked to ensure that the student experience would not be affected.
Edmondson said that Gannon has had its largest number of global freshmen enrolled this year.
This year has welcomed 61 global students from a diverse group of countries. He said that the total number of enrolled global students is now 467 students, giving Gannon the eighth largest global student enrollment among Pennsylvania universities.
Edmondson said that Gannon works to increase global enrollment even when facing multiple outside obstacles.
“As we continue to invest in global recruitment, there are many things outside of our control, such as students’ visa approvals, and the global view of the USA as a good place to study,” Edmondson said. “The student visa approvals affected our ability to enroll graduate students from India, and we believe how the USA is viewed by the world also had an impact, too.”
Edmondson said that Gannon is continuing to work to increase enrollment from Asia, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East by using the university’s three-step Global Plan over the next few years.
According to Edmondson, there has been a decrease in the number of high school graduates in the area, but Gannon has continued to strive for high numbers of enrollment and has had positive outcomes given the current environment.
Hayley Woebse, a junior nursing major, said that she has noticed a change in the way Gannon has been working to increase enrollment.
“I think they are trying to improve current students’ time here to have the trickle down affect to potentially welcome incoming students,” she said. “If you see and hear current students having a good time, you are more likely to want to come here.”
Edmondson said that Gannon will continue to work for higher numbers of domestic student enrollment in the future by making adjustments when necessary.
“We have invested in new academic programs, increased athletic offerings and roster sizes, invested in global recruitment and started a campus in Ruskin, Fla.,” Edmondson said.
The Ruskin campus currently has 117 students. The students are studying for their doctorate in occupational therapy or physical therapy, or their master’s degree in athletic training.
Summer Young, a junior health care management major, said that she has seen an increase in student club representation as a way to bring in more students during orientation during her time on campus.
“Gannon integrates a lot more clubs into the orientations than they used to, and that is what students want to see,” she said. “They want a community that shows a family in all sorts of different ways.”
Young said that she believes these clubs and organizations can make students want to attend Gannon.
“I think that seeing all of the different students in the clubs, and options of clubs can really make a difference when it comes to choosing a school to go to,” she said.
“When you can see the diversity of a university and see that there are students on campus with a variety of different interests, it becomes a litle bit easier to see yourself fitting in somewhere.”