Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is realizing continued growth of traditional undergraduate student enrollment for the sixth year in a row. Enrollment climbed over 1,400 in 2018, and continued to increase to 1,414 for Fall 2019. This is the highest traditional undergrad enrollment at MVNU since 2008.
“An increase of any size is a major win in the private higher education climate,” said Beth DaLonzo, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing. “The market for private, Christian schools is small so the fact that we are not just maintaining but growing in numbers is something to celebrate. This proves the students are finding value and benefit to a private, Christian university that both educates and nurtures them on and off campus.”
The intentionally-Christian university bucked the trend reported by the Ohio Department of Higher Education that marked a 5 percent drop in enrollment in both community colleges and universities from 2012-17. Since 2013, MVNU has witnessed a steady increase in enrollment culminating in a 14.7 percent increase over six years — up from 1,232 students.
MVNU officials credit the growth to new academic programs such as engineering and communication sciences and disorders; robust financial aid awards; athletic expansion including lacrosse and esports; and multiple partnerships to offer College Credit Plus locally and online.
“We have taken a proactive approach to enrollment by employing the most up-to-date methods to find and attract new students,” said MVNU President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II. “We added engineering and strengthened nursing which attracts more STEM students. We also added communication sciences and disorders.”
Engineering, nursing and exercise science are in the top five majors selected by freshmen. With the August announcement of ABET Accreditation of the engineering program, university officials anticipate further growth in the number of engineering students. Elementary education/elementary education intervention and biology round out the top five majors.
The College Credit Plus program, which allows high school students the opportunity to take college level classes for dual credits also shows steady growth. Changes to the program’s admissions requirements are opening the door for more high school students to earn a diploma and work toward a college degree simultaneously.
The University’s approach to athletic expansion as a means to increase enrollment is showing significant results with the addition of students who might not have considered MVNU without the opportunity to play men’s lacrosse or compete in co-ed esports.
“We’ve been especially pleased with how lacrosse and esports have contributed to our enrollment,” said Vice President for Student Life Tracy Waal. “Most of the students in these programs were not considering MVNU before given the opportunity to compete. Ryan Farr, men’s lacrosse coach, and Justin Nowicki, esports coach, have been extremely effective at finding academically prepared, mission-fit students that will add to the culture of campus.”
University officials are also praising the efforts of admissions counselors who are building relationships with potential students making the process more personal and providing them a window into the MVNU community. Moreover, they are removing obstacles making the path to transfer to MVNU much smoother.
“Our recruitment and financial aid staff rose to every challenge before them” said DaLonzo. “They recruited a class of new first-year students that is ethnically, socioeconomically and academically diverse, well prepared and brings a new richness to our campus in terms of their interests, activities and most importantly, their love of Christ.”