Enrollment sets record and breaks 3,000

Early enrollment numbers are breaking records at Fresno Pacific University.


The six-day preliminary report shows a 20 percent overall increase to more than 3,200 students in the traditional undergraduate, graduate and bachelor's degree completion programs. Of these, about 1,100 are new students.

"We're on track for our biggest enrollment in history," said President D. Merrill Ewert. "We worked to open up sections of courses and find faculty so that students who needed and wanted to be here had a place to study."

The traditional undergraduate program now has 1,040 students, up from 857 in the fall of 2009. Of these, 430 are new students, including 240 freshmen and 180 transfers from community colleges or other universities. Degree completion added 370 new students for a total of about 1,300, compared to 943 in fall 2009. Graduate enrollment looks to be 860, up from 849 in fall 2009. Final totals will come in mid-September.

At the biblical seminary, added to the university in June, there are 34 new students, two-thirds of whom are in the master of arts in marriage, family and child counseling program. The total enrollment is 110.

Many people are returning to school to prepare for the new economy, said Stephen Varvis, vice president of enrollment management. Others are transferring from more expensive schools they no longer feel they can afford, or public schools so crowded they can't get their required classes. 

FPU has responded to student needs in several ways. For 2010, it was one of six universities in the United States that did not raise tuition. In 2009 Fresno Pacific increased its financial aid and instituted a four-year graduation guarantee. The university guarantees qualified freshmen entering the traditional undergraduate program will have the classes and advising they need to earn a degree in four years. Students who fulfill their responsibilities and are not able to graduate in four years will receive the requisite courses in the next semester at no cost in tuition or student fees.

"Our region is in need of educated, principled people to be leaders in professions and communities," Varvis said. "Fresno Pacific University has stepped up its efforts in financial aid, recruitment and student services to help students make their goals into reality."

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