Students relaxing on the campus of Andrews University. Photo credit: Daniel Bedell
As is the case each fall semester on its Berrien Springs campus, Andrews University is once again taking the measure of current enrollment trends and is also reviewing and celebrating some of its remarkable recent national (and Michigan) university rankings.
Andrews University’s fall semester census numbers offer at least one lens to help assess Andrews University’s enrollment successes and challenges in the new school year.
On the Berrien Springs main campus, an official census was taken this year on Oct. 3, 2022, which showed 3,012 students enrolled at (or through) the main campus—62 students less than last year’s fall enrollment of 3,074.
Those numbers represent an overall undergraduate enrollment of 1,429 students and graduate enrollment of 1,583 students who are studying on or through the Berrien Springs main campus.
The overall decrease of just over 60 students came from a number of areas and student groups across the main campus fall semester Census Day’s enrollment report, including a drop of 76 students in undergraduate enrollment (1,429 undergraduates enrolled in 2022 versus 1,505 in 2021, measured on Census Day, Sept. 15, 2021) and an increase of 14 students in graduate enrollment (1,583 graduates enrolled in 2022 versus 1,569 graduates enrolled in 2021).
Incidentally, the number of international students enrolled on the main campus grew slightly this year, with 960 international students enrolled this year compared to 950 last year.
An additional 377 students are also studying at international campus partners and programs this fall semester, which makes an overall worldwide Andrews University fall semester enrollment of 3,389.
“Our fall semester enrollment drop of two (2) percent in student enrollment, combined with enrollment decreases over the two previous years in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, are in line with a similar percentage drop in university enrollments across all of higher education in the United States,” says Andrea Luxton, president. “Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on enrollment over the last three years, we believe there are increasingly positive signs that the future will look strong.”
Most of the undergraduate enrollment decreases came from two categories: first-time freshmen (also known as FTIAC students—First Time In Any College), with this year’s enrollment of 227 FTIAC students down 29 students from last fall’s enrollment of 256, and undergraduate continuing students, with this year's enrollment of 904 students down 35 from last year’s enrollment of 939 in this category.
Overall, our large graduating classes in May and August 2022 have also contributed to lower numbers overall.
“We are carefully evaluating this year’s results, especially in the context of significant increase in applications and acceptances from last year,” says Tony Yang, vice president for Strategy, Marketing & Enrollment and Chief Communication Officer. “We’re responding by carefully analyzing both external and internal factors and actively making adjustments, wherever needed, to help ensure strong spring and next fall semesters in 2023.”
“Even as Andrews faces some specific enrollment challenges this year, there are so many good things happening at Andrews University,” says Yang. “And our campus community, including the faculty and staff who serve at Andrews, is part of the reason.”
“Our way forward, I believe, is driven by a common goal as we recruit and welcome each one of our students—whether they are new or returning students in future semesters—and that is to ensure a World Changing Experience. Every Student. Every Time.” says Yang. “I’m convinced that our enrollment strategies and plans will succeed as we work together as an Andrews family to continue to adapt to shifting attitudes toward Adventist higher education, challenges for Adventist families who struggle with affordability, and the dynamic and rapidly changing expectations on how we best communicate with and reach students and families.”
Andrews University, as the flagship university of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist church, and one of America’s leading internationally diverse universities, also takes the opportunity to measure its on-campus and global enrollment trends each fall through an additional annual unduplicated headcount report.
This annual assessment of students enrolled allows the University to account for internationally based study programs and individual student cohorts that do not enroll at the same times as the traditional in-person enrollment semesters and semester timeframes on the University’s main Berrien Springs campus.
In the most recent IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) report, Andrews’ 2021–2022 annual unduplicated headcount report showed a total of 4,307 students registered (including online courses), which is up 190 students over the 2020–2021 unduplicated headcount report. This headcount does not include all students who are studying internationally or non-degree students.
Those unduplicated headcount numbers for 2021–2022 include 2,059 undergraduates (an increase of 176 over the previous year, most of that increase coming from part-time students) and 2,248 graduate students (an increase of 14 over the previous year).
“As we reflect on the implications of these fall semester statistics and our annual unduplicated headcount report, and as we begin this new school year, we remain fully committed to ‘World Changers Made Here’ as the core message and purpose of Andrews University,” says Christon Arthur, provost. “In fact, we are convinced that our message of World Changers, combined with our foundational mission to Seek Knowledge, Affirm Faith and Change the World, is needed now more than ever these days—not just locally here in Michigan but also across North America and globally.”
President Luxton also notes that “ultimately, we remain fully committed to our mission as the flagship General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists institution, an institution with a world-changing reach and a God-centered purpose that is at the heart of all we do.”
Each fall, a wide array of university and college rankings is released.
In the 2022–2023 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings released this September, Andrews University continues to be the only Adventist university included in the rankings of nearly 400 national universities (overall, there are nearly 4,000 degree-granting universities and colleges in America; U.S. News lists nearly 1,500 of those institutions in its annual rankings).
U.S. News Best Colleges does its rankings based on academic quality and places emphasis on outcome measures—including graduation rates, retention rates, graduate indebtedness and social mobility. It also surveys peer institutions for each category (in other words, other national universities rank Andrews University each year).
The “national university” category is used for universities with a full range of undergraduate majors as well as offering master’s and doctoral degrees, which draw students from across the U.S. and which benefit from a strong focus on research and low student/faculty ratios.
In this year’s U.S. News rankings, Andrews University was tied (with University of Hawaii-Hilo) for the nation’s #1 most diverse national university campus. Andrews University was also included in the Top Ten rankings among national universities for the number of international students.
Also, in the 2022–2023 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, Andrews is one of only two private national universities in Michigan and is one of only 41 national universities with a student/faculty ratio of less than 10 to 1. Andrews University also has the lowest student/faculty ratio of any national university in Michigan.
Although the U.S. News Best Colleges is the best-known university rankings report, Andrews also did well in Niche.com’s 2023 Best Colleges in America rankings. Niche has been ranking universities over the last 20 years since the ranking’s 2002 introduction. Its rankings are based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with reviews from students and alumni. More than 1,500 institutions were included in this year’s list.
Niche’s Best Colleges in America 2023 rankings presented a particularly favorable picture, ranking Andrews University as the top private, Christian and small college in Michigan.
Niche.com ranked the University as the 11th top Christian university in America, the only Adventist University to be ranked in the top 100 Christian universities, and ranked Andrews highly in several other categories (including #2 most diverse colleges in America and top 10 percent for best college food).
Andrews University also ranked in the top 15 percent of all colleges overall (1,555 ranked) and private universities (954 ranked).
Andrews also did well in the 2023 College Factual Best College rankings, which highlight colleges and universities that meet high standards and provide quality outcomes to students. The factors that make up College Factual’s annual rankings include assessment of student to faculty ratios, graduation rates, student loan default rates and other quality metrics.
In those 2023 Best Colleges rankings, Andrews University moved up nearly 400 spots to #454 out of 2,241 ranked institutions, or the top 20 percent of all schools ranked. This ranking also included Andrews as #11 out of 57 Michigan colleges, in the top 20 percent of all institutions ranked for the state of Michigan.
In one other significant ranking report, the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates found Andrews to be in the top 100 universities for the highest percentage of undergraduates to go on to earn a doctorate in education (#18) and the arts & humanities (#77).
Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 160 areas of study, including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but the University also provides instruction at colleges and universities in more than 25 countries around the world.
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