MILLIGAN COLLEGE –– Enrollment at Milligan College dropped slightly this fall but the school was named among the top 10 on several lists by U.S. News & World Report for value and other things, officials announced Wednesday morning.
According to Milligan, 1,164 students are attending classes this fall. In fall 2011, Milligan had an enrollment of 1,208, its largest enrollment. In fall 2010 enrollment was at 1,140. A decade ago, Milligan had 843 students.
Lee Fierbaugh, Milligan’s vice president for enrollment management and marketing communications, said enrollment was not expected to increase this year as it has for the past several years. She said the pace of growth may cool for a few years.
“I think to some degree it might (level off) because these large classes that we’ve been bringing in are now starting to graduate,” she said. “So for that reason we went into the year anticipating that it would probably be flat. And we’ll continue to have some large classes graduating over the next few years.
“We hope for continued growth but at this point it’s going to be a moderate growth, and that’s what we want.”
Milligan has 882 traditional undergraduate students and 282 students in its graduate and professional studies programs enrolled this fall. Classes began Aug. 22. The average ACT score of this year’s entering class is 24 and the average GPA is 3.6 — higher than the state and national averages.
Milligan cannot grow too much in enrollment for traditional students who live on campus, as its dormitories are practically filled to capacity. To help rectify that situation, the school began construction on a massive $10 million housing village this summer. Once completed, the entire housing project will take Milligan’s on-campus housing capacity from 600 beds to approximately 800 beds. The first phase of buildings in this project should be completed by fall 2013.
“We can’t really grow too much more with our traditional undergraduate enrollment without additional housing. So it’s important that as we grow we also keep up with the resources that are necessary to serve those students.”
Fierbaugh said enrollment data is important beyond just the total head count. The information regarding the student body is broken down into male, female, part-time or full-time and is used for strategic planning with regard to utilizing resources. Most of that specific data used for planning purposes should be available next week.
The college was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as sixth overall among Regional Colleges in the South; third among Best Value Schools and sixth on the A+ Schools for B Students list. These accolades were earned in the news magazine’s 2013 rankings for America’s Best Colleges.
According to Milligan, for nearly 30 years, the U.S. News college rankings have grown to be one of the most comprehensive research tools for students and parents. The rankings are available online at www.usnews.com/colleges. The 2013 Best Colleges guidebook will be on newsstands later this month.
These rankings are a helpful tool for parents and students, Fierbaugh said. She the report reaffirms quality for institutions, but it is the data that people can see associated with each school that is truly informative for prospective students.