Enrollment boasts academic quality

September 17th, 2009

The economic recession made its impact on enrollment at John Carroll University, as the freshman class arrived with 129 fewer students than last year.

Enrollment numbers for the first-year students report 663 members, compared to 792 in 2008 and 726 in 2007. 

Executive Director of Enrollment Steven Vitatoe said the decrease in enrollment was due in large part to the economy.

“We had a large number of financial aid appeals and ran into a lot of families where parents lost jobs,” said Vitatoe. “It’s a financially tough time for a lot of people.”

Claudia Wenzel, associate director of financial aid, said that the number of appeals was not significantly higher compared to previous years. However the type of appeals were very different in comparison.

“We certainly saw families struggling,” Wenzel said, “but a different type of struggle. There were more true appeals – special circumstances – rather than just requests for additional aid.”

Wenzel said the predominant issue was the loss of jobs, among reduced pay, layoffs and other reasons. 

Vitatoe said that though the head count is down, the class of 2013 has an outstanding academic background. The freshman class has 16 high school valedictorians, and 41 percent of the class graduated high school with a GPA of 3.5 or above.

Representing 25 states, the class of 2013 is more geographically diverse than classes in the past, according to Vitatoe.

“I think we are starting to see the fruits of our recruitment plan that [Vice President for Enrollment] Brian Williams put into place,” Vitatoe said. “We targeted travel in different areas from the traditional Midwest region.”

Vitatoe said JCU’s online presence, campus visits and publications are starting to pay off. 

Statistics for the class of 2013 also show that 22 percent are JCU legacies, 68 percent are Ohio natives, and just more than 13 percent are students of color. 

Williams said, “John Carroll is a family community, and the legacy numbers of more than one family member attending are a testament to students and their family members valuing JCU and wanting a similar experience.” 

Williams said that the diversified population of the freshman class represented fewer than 10 percent prior to University President Father Niehoff’s arrival; it accounted for between 12 percent and 13 percent of the freshman population for the past three years.