Grace College Sets Enrollment Record with New Accelerated Program
For the sixth year running, Grace College and Seminary has had steady enrollment increases. 1,568 students have enrolled for the 2011-2012 academic year, topping the 2010 enrollment of 1,411 students by 11% (figures not including prison participants).
Overall enrollment is not the only figure that has increased this year. With 294 students, the 2011 freshman class is the largest to date for Grace College. New students total 346, another record-breaking number for Grace, and an increase of over 18% from 2010. Grace’s online programs have experienced dramatic growth since last year, from serving 75 students in 2010 to serving 115 students in 2011, a 53% increase.
Much of the credit for the enrollment increase is due to the Fall 2011 launch of Grace’s innovative three-year accelerated degree program – of the 346 new students enrolled this year, about 47 percent chose to participate in the three-year degree program. In each of its 50-plus major areas of study, Grace now offers students the option of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in three years or obtaining both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in four years.
With the Reimagine accelerated program, Grace College reinvented the school’s programs to better meet students’ and families’ needs. The school has restructured the academic year into two eight-week sessions per semester, allowing students to take fewer classes at a time while completing more credits. Additionally, class curriculums have been redesigned to allow for increased practical and applied learning. Grace President Ronald E. Manahan said, “Grace College strives to produce graduates who are relevant, adaptable, and innovative. Reimagine was Grace’s opportunity to say there’s a better way, and to implement it. This is an important step for us, and gives students and their families’ greater opportunity.”
Much of the motivation for switching to the accelerated program is due to the concerted effort Grace has made to be sensitive to the financial constraints placed on college students and their families. “Over the past couple of years we have worked very hard to help meet the financial burden that so many of our families have experienced, and this record new student enrollment seems to be a clear message that the plan is working,” said Grace College Provost Bill Katip.
Grace has gone out of its way to be competitive in the field of higher education in many other ways as well. The college is expanding its undergraduate academic opportunities with the addition of the environmental science program and a new engineering program through Trine University. These programs are in addition to what Grace has already implemented, such as options for high school students and adults alike (through JumpStart and the GOAL program, respectively), a nursing program through Bethel College, and lower-cost satellite locations through the Henry and Frances Weber School at Grace College.