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Historic Freshman Class Propels Midland Enrollment to Record Level

Historic Freshman Class Propels Midland Enrollment to Record Level

Sep 12th , 2013

This fall Midland University welcomed the arrival of its largest freshman class in decades. Successive enrollment gains have driven Midland’s total student population to nearly 1300 students, more than double the enrollment of just four years ago.

With the arrival of 367 new freshmen this fall, more students than ever before are calling Midland home. After four consecutive years of enrollment growth, Midland now serves 1,288 students, including 1,192 undergraduates.

“Over the last four years, we have seen what can happen when a university commits itself to doing what is right for students,” said Midland President Ben Sasse. “Our faculty have invested themselves in the idea that we can push students to find their fullest potential while supporting them through the trials such a journey entails.”

In recent years Midland has invested in new ideas that are redefining the college experience to meet the needs of today’s students. An extensive advising and support network enables the university to track student progress beginning their first weekend on campus. Through careful review of a variety of indicators of student performance, from attendance to participation in activities, Midland officials are identifying students that need extra support and guidance from the start of their freshman experience.

“We’ve asked a lot of our faculty over the last few years, and their efforts have sown benefits beyond our highest expectations,” noted Sasse. “Teaching at Midland doesn’t have as much to do with time spent at the lectern as it does with understanding students as people. We’ve discovered that starting conversations on attendance and daily performance can open the door to understanding the person behind those marks in a grade book.”

Midland’s extensive student support network, combined with a resequencing of academic schedules, has enabled Midland to launch its Four-Year Graduation Guarantee. This unique program ensures that all students, regardless of their major, will have the opportunity to graduate in four years by meeting basic requirements.

 “We have a visionary Board of Directors that asked us to identify and eliminate obstacles to student success so that we could make a four year graduation promise and stand behind it with complete confidence. This led to common sense like scheduling classes at the best times for students and the development of powerful resources for student success like our Center for the Four-Year Graduation Guarantee,” said Sasse.

On-time graduation is one of several strategies being employed to help students minimize their debt load, a key to giving them the opportunity to find success after graduation. The average Midland University graduate accumulates less debt than is common in Midwest state university systems without the extensive tax subsidies that typically support public higher education institutions.

“Midland offers students the opportunity to explore a broader world, get involved in things they care about, and gain critical skills that will serve them in their careers,” continued President Sasse. “Parents and students have responded, and our campus is bursting at the seams with talented and passionate young people.”

Enrollment growth throughout campus has been matched by growth in opportunities throughout student life. Over the last four years, Midland has added 11 varsity sports programs to become Nebraska’s largest athletic department. Home to 27 varsity athletic teams, 12 levels of junior varsity competition, and more than 600 student athletes, the Midland athletic department exceeds the size of the entire student body of just four years ago.

Highly visible growth in athletics has been matched by the university’s major expansion in performing arts. Since 2009 investments in performing arts have added faculty and staff with industry experience and a variety of new programs. The addition of a drumline, color guard, vocal pop groups, a stings ensemble, and a performance dance program have combined to create more than 250 opportunities in the arts. At the same time, the university has expanded scholarship opportunities to make the dream of higher education a reality for a diverse array of young performers.

As a college committed to creating an intimate residential experience, where students live in community and professors maintain close personal relationships with students, Midland is exploring a variety of options to meet growing demand and serve more students. Recent partnerships with the city of Fremont, the Fremont Family YMCA, and Fremont Public Schools have helped create opportunities for continued expansion in support of the university’s current growth trajectory.