By Stephanie Lanyi
For the past eight years, Indiana University East has set record-breaking enrollment numbers. This has been a positive turn of events for the campus and a number of changes have occurred to accommodate the growing number of students.
Since 2007, the headcount enrollment has doubled. This fall, IU East enrolled 4,716 students for classes. This has been a record-breaking year for the undergraduate student population as well as the graduate students. Enrollment for master’s programs is up 12.8 percent since 2014, according to the University Institutional Research and Reporting.
A significant amount of the increase in enrollment can be attributed to the expansion of the school’s online program.
“Students are finding these online programs and they see that they are offered through Indiana University and that’s very attractive,” said Mary Blakefield, interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at IU East. “Students around the country are looking for high quality online degrees and they’re finding IU East. This a very large growth area for us.”
Another contributing factor to the rising enrollment numbers is the school’s expanding heath care education department.
The IU East School of Nursing is one of the top nursing schools in Indiana and Blakefield says that this is a popular program as more and more students are entering this field because of the strong job market.
Along with the growth in the student population, IU East has also added to its facilities.
New areas for study, campus life events, and activities have been added to the campus.
There have also been an “increased number of students who are engaging in community activities and service learning (volunteerism). These are all significant signs of growth on our campus,” said IU East Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe.
With more students enrolling, the faculty has been tasked with adapting to the growth. More enrollment in the online program has required some professors to need an assistant to manage the class and communications with the students.
According to Blakefield, almost all professors teach a class or two online. More change is expected locally in Richmond to house the growing student population. A new student housing development was completed this summer and is located next to campus. The Annex is a privately owned apartment building and caters to IU East, Ivy Tech Community College and Purdue Polytechnic Richmond students. Blakefield says “at some point it (enrollment) will level off… We continue to work on our enrollment every semester, adding new degree programs, looking at existing offerings to make sure they are current and attractive to students. We want to grow and will continue pushing our enrollment and expanding.”