ASC smashes enrollment records for third year running


Adams State College has smashed enrollment records for the third year in a row and welcomed its largest freshman class in more than 40 years. As of the fall census date, Sept. 8, total enrollment for fall 2011 is 3,701, up 6.6 percent over last year, according to Dr. Michael Mumper, senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Program Development.

Over the last four years, enrollment at Adams State has grown 34 percent, Mumper said. "We have experienced the second highest growth rate of all four-year institutions in the state."

In 2009, Adams State's enrollment grew a whopping 17.5 percent over the previous year, a record that was broken in 2010 by 2.9 percent. The previous enrollment record was set in 1970, during the Vietnam War.

The 2011 Adams State College freshman class gathered for New Student Orientation Aug. 19.

The 2011 Adams State College freshman class gathered for New Student Orientation Aug. 19. The group includes ten high school valedictorians. Thirty percent of the freshman class attended San Luis Valley high schools.

Adams State President David Svaldi said: "Congratulations to Dr. Michael Mumper and all of the admissions and enrollment staff for their excellent work. Our faculty also deserve praise for their part in improving our undergraduate retention. Students universally praise their ASC professors for their caring approach."

Across-the-board growth

Mumper said this continuing success is across the board, with a record number of graduate students - 819 - as well as increases in undergraduate, transfer, and distance students. This year's freshman class numbers 579, a 4 percent increase over 2010, according to Eric Carpio, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management.

Adams State's total undergraduate enrollment is up just about 5 percent, with 2,301 on-campus students and 581 enrolled in Extended Studies courses through distance education.

Graduate students number 819, up 13.5 percent over last year. The majority of that growth is in the college's online Master's in Counselor Education program, which grew 56 percent to a total of 427 students. Enrollment in the master's program in Higher Education Administrative Leadership has nearly tripled, with the addition of a new cohort to this online program geared to staff of Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Growth also continues in several undergraduate programs. The number of students majoring in sociology is up 28 percent, followed by business administration, up 20 percent; biology is up 13 percent, and HPPE (Human Physiology and Physical Education) is up 12 percent.

Improving both quality & quantity

"We are particularly pleased to achieve this growth while increasing the overall academic profile of our student body and maintaining our commitment to student diversity," Carpio said. "We are also extremely proud to have ten Colorado high school valedictorians in our new freshman class." Valedictorians receive an automatic Adams State scholarship of $1,000.

Hispanic undergraduate enrollment at Adams State this semester is nearly 33 percent, with an additional 14 percent of students identifying as members of other ethnic/racial minority groups. Female students account for more than 54 percent of the undergraduate student body - similar to national trends.

Adams State's 2011 freshman class is 34 percent Hispanic, and more than 30 percent are graduates of San Luis Valley high schools, Carpio added.

Since 2007, the proportion of new Adams State freshmen with CCHE admission indexes above 99 has grown from 24 percent to nearly 35 percent. (The Colorado Commission on Higher Education - CCHE - calculates a student's index based on high school grade point average and ACT score.) These students automatically receive merit scholarships of $1,000 and $1,500.

"It's also clear that our recent campus improvements have made Adams State more attractive to students," Mumper said. By the conclusion of 2011, the college will have completed $62 million in new construction and renovation since 2008, including creation of the Residences at Rex, the campus' first new student residence hall in more than 40 years.

By Julie Waechter