Grace College Welcomes Strong Class; Accelerated and Blended Degrees on the Rise
Grace College & Seminary welcomed 1,278 undergraduate students to its Winona Lake campus this fall – the second-largest undergraduate enrollment in Grace history. A growing number of students are choosing to pursue accelerated and blended degrees. Since 2011, Grace College has offered a three-year bachelor’s degree in all of its 70-plus majors. This year, nearly one-third of Grace undergraduates are on track to earn an accelerated bachelor’s degree. In addition, students pursuing a blended degree – a bachelor’s and master’s degree in four years – has increased to its greatest number ever.
Cindy Sisson, vice president of enrollment management and marketing at Grace College & Seminary, commented on Grace’s 2017-18 enrollment. “We are very pleased to again have a strong entering class of more than 400 students. We’ve made this benchmark for six years in a row now,” she said. “It’s also encouraging to see an increasing number of students choose accelerated and blended degrees. It seems clear that our efforts in innovation and affordability are paying off.”
Nontraditional students, including online, graduate and seminary students, number 877 for the 2017-18 school year. Grace continues to offer Jump Start and dual credit for high school students as well as a bachelor degree completion program, GOAL (Grace Opportunities for Adult Learners), both online and on campus. Last year, Grace added its ninth online master degree in Nonprofit Management. Others include Athletic Administration, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Ministry Studies, Business Administration, Higher Education, Intercultural Studies, Local Church Ministry and Divinity. Online graduate enrollment is up more than 13% this year.
The Grace College School of Business continues to grow in enrollment and reputation. This fall, business majors number 328 – the most ever and a 20% increase from three years ago. As the School of Business seeks Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) approval this academic year, it also kicks off a new agribusiness program. Both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in agribusiness are now offered to equip students with the competencies necessary to run farms and pursue a variety of agriculture careers in today’s marketplace.
Also new this fall is a bachelor’s in nursing program (BSN) in partnership with Bethel College. According to Dr. John Lillis, provost of Grace College & Seminary, “The need for well-trained nurses and student interest led to our decision to transition from an ADN to a BSN program at Grace.”
As Grace continues construction on the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex, so does it continue development of a new chemistry major and accreditation for a mechanical engineering degree. In the past four decades, Grace’s Department of Science and Mathematics has grown sixfold to include 13 different science majors and 11 pre-professional tracks. “Our investment in science will not waiver as we seek to meet the demand for well-trained professionals in health care, orthopaedics, environmental science and more,” said Lillis.
Last spring, the Aspire Campaign for Grace College & Seminary was launched to fund the college’s four new strategic priorities: educational excellence, connected community, culture of innovation and sustainable affordability. Grace seeks to raise $37 million to fund these priorities; to date, nearly $30 million has been raised.