Pacific Union College’sstudent body grew for the fourth consecutive year, fueled largely by a rise inretention--the number of students who return to PUC. This year’s enrollmentincreased to 1,605 from 1,567 at this time last year. The school-wide retentionrate now stands at 78 percent, up from 70 percent last year.
Enrollment in PUC’s newallied health program, introduced last year, played the biggest role in fuelingthe increase in retention.
PUC administratorsdiscovered the need for such a program after the Western Association of Schoolsand College, the school’s accrediting agency, recommended an institutionalassessment, President Heather J. Knight explained. The assessment revealed agap in degree options for students overflowing the limits of PUC’s popularnursing program, and for students taking pre-allied health classes.
The new program fillsthat gap, giving students a degree offering providing a strong foundation for abroad range of careers in the health sciences. “In fall of this year, we had158 students declared for pre-allied health profession,” noted ShanaRuggenberg, chair of the department of nursing and health sciences, saying thedegree helps the department meet its mission of training healthcareprofessionals in allied health fields.
In addition to newprograms, students in all majors benefited from a tuition freeze that heldtuition rates for the current school year at 2011-2012 levels, undoubtedlymaking it easier to continue to afford a private Christian education. The initiative, along with recentlyintroduced four-year guarantee scholarship program (which lets students know upfront how much tuition assistance they can expect from year to year), makesreturning to PUC a smart choice, especially in an environment where many publicand private colleges across the country are facing significant increases intuition and fees.
The college’s academicsupport programs also helped fuel the increase in retention, said Academic DeanNancy Lecourt. The on-campus academic success program housed at the Teachingand Learning Center has seen its visits triple this year as students accessresources to succeed.
“Our new students arevery proactive in pursuing academic success, and they’ve been taking advantageof our resources in record numbers,” says Jennifer Wareham Best, director ofthe Teaching and Learning Center. “This is our dream student body.”
“We are thrilled thatso many students are making–and continuing to make–PUC their college ofchoice,” said Knight. “We want PUC to be the absolute best option, and that’swhy we’re working very intentionally to meet the needs of our students.”