Elmhurst College is celebrating its highest enrollments in the College’s 146-year history, both for new students as well as the overall population. The historic numbers coincide with several recent achievements at the College that benefit those students, from greater financial stability to national recognition for Elmhurst’s undergraduate teaching.
At 3,529, the record-setting number includes members of the first-year class, transfer students, new traditional part-time students, new graduate students and new students enrolled in the Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy, along with returning students. Fittingly, this population includes the Class of 2021, a historic group in its own right because its members will graduate during the College’s sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary year.
The high enrollments come during a new period of financial stability for the College, achieved through greater fiscal discipline and the resolution last spring of the state’s two-year budget impasse. Like nearly every other college and university across the state, Elmhurst had a number of students who were promised grant monies from the Monetary Assistance Program, or MAP. During Illinois’ budget difficulties, Elmhurst College used institutional funds to cover its MAP students. The restored state funding gives the College greater flexibility to pursue new projects.
“Our record enrollment success, combined with MAP funding, place Elmhurst in a very strong position for the future,” said President Troy D. VanAken, who instituted the fiscal initiatives last year, during his first year in office.
The fundraising front also experienced significant gains. Total gifts and commitments for 2016-2017 grew to $7.45 million, an increase of 250 percent over the previous year. The figure includes an annual fund total of $920,833, an increase of 238 percent; and more than $1 million raised for student scholarships.
Students also are the beneficiaries of some recent accolades and academic successes for Elmhurst College. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Elmhurst No. 3 in the Midwest for the strength of its undergraduate teaching, and No. 11 on the overall list of Best Regional Universities-Midwest. Elmhurst also rose to No. 9 as one of the best colleges in the Midwest for veterans, and U.S. News, Money and Forbes consistently rank Elmhurst as one of the Midwest’s best values in higher education.
Earlier this month, Elmhurst College’s graduate program in communication sciences and disorders earned its initial accreditation, achieving perfect compliance with national standards for its Master of Science program in the burgeoning field of speech-language pathology.
Over the summer, Elmhurst College signed agreements with three community colleges that will smooth the process for students interested in transferring to Elmhurst. This year’s new student population includes 372 transfer students, or 43 percent of all new, full-time students. President VanAken and the presidents of College of DuPage, Triton College and Moraine Valley Community College signed agreements that guarantee admission to Elmhurst for qualifying students from the three community colleges. The agreements also create a dual enrollment program that enables students attending those institutions to take advantage of Elmhurst’s programs and resources at the same time.
“As we look forward to our sesquicentennial, we are at a pivotal time in our history,” President VanAken said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to take some bold, innovative steps that will provide an even more vibrant environment for our current and future students.”