Enrollment down at JC this yearJamestown College is altering some of its recruitment messages after enrollment this year fell about 4 percent.
Jamestown College is altering some of its recruitment messages after enrollment this year fell about 4 percent.
About 970 students are enrolled this year, about a 40-student decline from last year, said President Bob Badal. Official numbers aren’t released until 10 days after classes begin.
This year’s freshmen class is about 260 students compared to more than 300 last year. The number of new transfer students is down this year too, Badal said.
About half of the students are from North Dakota and the other half come from several states and about 12 different countries. The most popular states of residence outside North Dakota are Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota.
About 40 of the 260 freshman students are from Jamestown. The students come from various religious and socioeconomic backgrounds and about half are women and half are men, officials said.
Their average ACT score is one of the highest on record. Freshmen students scored an average of 23. The highest possible score is 36. The freshmen GPA is one of the highest, too, at 3.415, said Tena Lawrence, dean of enrollment management.
“They’re a meritorious group,” Badal said.
JC’s enrollment decline comes at a time when public universities in the state have reported an increase. The University of North Dakota reported a 6.9 percent increase and North Dakota State University reported an increase of 2 percent. Enrollment at Mayville State is up 11.4 percent and 9.9 percent at Valley City State University, according to Associated Press reports.
Badal attributes the decline at JC in part to the economy and the perception of the price tag for tuition at Jamestown College. Because of the economy, the cost of college may play a larger role when students chose which school is right for them.
“We lost some kids because their parents lost jobs,” he said.
Tuition, room and board at Jamestown College is about $22,000 per year. Tuition, fees and room and board for a North Dakota resident at North Dakota State University is about $13,600 per year. In-state room, board and tuition at University of North Dakota costs about $12,900.
“We don’t apologize for our cost but we don’t think we let people know what the net cost of attendance is,” Badal said.
Jamestown College’s tuition numbers can be misleading, Lawrence said, because there, the average student receives $8,000 in institutional aid. At Jamestown College, she said, 98 percent of students receive some sort of institutional aid.
State schools don’t necessarily offer as much opportunity for similar aid and scholarships, she said. That means students at Jamestown College aren’t necessarily paying more.
“That’s a message we have to get out better,” Badal said.
So for next year’s new students, Jamestown College is updating its website and promotional messages telling students to think again if they believe they can’t afford Jamestown College.
The financial aid process is sometimes complicated, Badal said. So without proper research, a student or family may not understand the true cost of attending college in Jamestown.
The college looks to attract both traditional students and non-traditional. In addition to its recruitment messages, Jamestown College also seeks to expand programs like the students from South Korea who come to Jamestown, usually for a semester, to study nursing and business. It also looks to expand its graduate and online programs, Badal said.
“With those changes and other changes, we’re looking forward to the coming year,” Lawrence said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org