Augustana freshman class largest since 1978

From staff reports

Augustana University reported 481 first-year students, making it the largest freshman class since 1978.

It’s a 14 percent increase from last year and contributes to a total enrollment of 2,080 — the largest since 1990.
This year’s first-year class comes from 20 states and 10 countries.

The announcement kicks off a big week for the university, which will inaugurate president Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

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“It is, without question, a great day to be a Viking at Augustana University,” she said. “There’s an extraordinary sense of excitement and momentum alive on campus today. As we begin a new academic year, we celebrate the opportunity to serve more students. We’re excited to provide them with an education of enduring worth — an opportunity to discover new ideas; attain knowledge and develop skills highly valued in today’s workplace; and build experience and connections through internships, research, clinical work and study-abroad opportunities. This is all part of our mission to help young people launch meaningful careers and build lives of purpose and service.”

Augustana outlined five major goals in its 2019 strategic plan that are reflected in the strong enrollment: serve more students and foster their success, provide substantive and innovative educational experiences, cultivate strategic partnerships, steward its resources and pursue greater brand awareness.

The university also recently reported a 98 percent job-placement rate.

Officials point to a strong endowment and consistent support from alumni and friends as another factor behind the growth in enrollment.

This fall, 100 percent of full-time students are receiving scholarships or financial aid. According to the Augustana financial aid office, the average price for new, domestic first-year students this fall was $15,978 after all sources of gift aid, including grants and scholarships.

Retaining more students

University officials also said an increased freshman-to-sophomore retention rate is another factor behind the increased enrollment.

Augustana saw an 86 percent retention rate for fall 2017 — the university’s highest first-to-second year retention in recorded history.

The school points to a series of initiatives designed to better serve students for the increased retention, including:

  • The Student Success Center, a central place for career and academic support services — a hub for educational and vocational engagement.
  • A revised core curriculum designed for the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
  • The First-Year Seminar (FYS), a two-semester program that serves to orient students to academics and campus life. It’s a collection of innovative courses that also enables students to better connect with each other, professors and campus resources.

Augustana freshman class largest since 1978

Augustana University reported 481 first-year students, making it the largest freshman class since 1978.

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