News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 14, 2006

Woods WED enrollment increases slightly

TERRE HAUTE — St. Mary-of-the-Woods College has experienced a modest increase in the number of full-time equivalent students enrolled in the College’s Woods External Degree program, but a decline in overall enrollment.

“While the number of FTE students enrolled in the WED program increased by 1 percent, a smaller number of new students in the campus program offset the increase, causing a 3.6 percent decrease in overall enrollment this past year,” said Sister Joan Lescinski, Woods president.

The campus program enrolled 20 fewer new students than last year, said Theresa Denton, chief enrollment services officer. The decrease is attributed to primarily economic factors.

“In recent years, increased cost of living and limited increases in state and federal grants and loans have hindered students’ abilities to meet rising college tuition costs,” Denton said.

For 2006, the college increased its average institutional financial aid award to new campus students by more than 5 percent in anticipation of families’ financial challenges, but the increase in institutional aid was insufficient to make a difference for some students interested in attending the college, she said.

Denton said the college was an innovator in meeting student need when it introduced the Woods Twenty-First Century Scholar Grant program in 2003, and it will continue its focus on finding ways to make the Woods an affordable option for all students who wish to attend.

Students came to The Woods from seven states, including Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin, and this year’s incoming class includes six international students, representing Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. More than 75 percent of incoming freshmen graduated in the top half of their high school class.

As the college looks at ways to enhance recruiting efforts for both the WED and campus programs, Denton also anticipates challenges and opportunities tied to Indiana’s community college systems.

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