Record enrollment fills campus at Trine University

Trine University has increased its enrollment this year by 50 percent – enrollment growth that sets it apart from most other schools.

Trine welcomed 630 new students when classes began Aug. 26. That record-setting class contributed to Trine’s record overall enrollment of 3,600 students, compared to 2,400 last year.

“We’re very proud of this enrollment growth as the result of enhanced initiatives in the Office of Admission and a campus-wide effort to maintain a safe, welcoming environment,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine president. “Our students remain our top priority, especially as we experience this phenomenal growth.”

‘Remarkable increase’

Leaders of Independent Colleges of Indiana and Council of Independent Colleges agree Trine’s huge increase exceeds typical growth.

“That kind of enrollment increase is significant and I think it’s a strong testament to Trine University’s growth trajectory,” said Richard L. Ludwick, president and chief executive officer of Independent College of Indiana (ICI). “Trine has already had pretty positive enrollment change in the past, but this is one of those accelerants that is really quite remarkable.”

 “Trine University’s 50 percent increase in student enrollment this year is truly notable. Over the last five years, the national average annual growth in student enrollment has been in the single digits,” said Richard Ekman, president of Council of Independent Colleges. “Trine’s growth is evidence of its commitment to excellence and innovation.”

The national average more closely mirrors what has also been the growth level for Indiana’s private colleges. “When ICI’s institutions aim to grow enrollment, they rarely grow faster than 10 percent a year,” said Scott Feeny, director of policy and research for ICI. “Last year, private colleges in Indiana increased its enrollment by less than 1 percent from fall 2013 to fall 2014.”

What these organization leaders have observed jibes with increases reported by other universities and colleges in the region.  At least five schools have reported growth ranging from 8 percent to 15 percent.

Those figures are more consistent with what has been recorded by Noel-Levitz, higher education consultants committed to helping institutions nationwide meet their goals for enrollment and student success.

‘Not the norm’

Public universities are flat in growth while four-year private institutions are seeing increases, said Sarah Coen, vice president for consulting services for Noel-Levitz. Trine University began working with the consulting firm in 2013.

“This is definitely not the norm,” Coen said of Trine’s growth, adding that Indiana has a very competitive market for higher education. “There is no national trend data for this fall yet, but if you look at data from a national student clearinghouse, in spring 2014 it was the fifth consecutive term drop for enrollments. There is a slight increase for four-year privates in spring of 2014, a 2 percent increase. Before that it was .5, .5 and 1. 5 percent increases.”

Noel-Levitz partners with thousands of colleges and universities each year. “The last time I looked at increases at schools that work with us, in June or July, about half had increases. At that point, it was in the 5 percent range but there is no firm number for this year,” she said last week.

 “Typically, we give an award every year for marketing and recruitment excellence, and that’s often the kind of growth we see for those campuses,” Coen said, referring to Trine’s 52 percent increase.

New programs, more students

Noel-Levitz consultants advise client schools to grow their market, grow their academic programs or do both. “If you can penetrate your market and add new programs, then that’s ideal,” Coen said.

This fall, a cohort of students began in Trine’s Doctor of Physical Therapy, the school’s first doctoral program. Students can opt to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in three years and then the doctorate in three years, earning the advanced degree at least a year earlier than the norm. Students may also choose a more traditional part of earning a bachelor’s degree in four years and continuing on to earn the doctorate. For more information on Trine’s new doctoral program offered through the School of Health Sciences, visit

Trine also rolled out two new master degree programs, the Master of Science in engineering management and the Master of Business Administration. Each of the 12-month programs are offered through the Ketner School of Business. For details on either of these programs, visit or

New undergraduate degrees include a Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity and a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and English studies through the Jannen School of Arts & Sciences.

“We are extremely pleased we’re teaming with Trine; we can make all the recommendations in the world and if they don’t get implemented, then  it doesn’t help,” she said while praising Trine for embracing recruiting strategies from Noel-Levitz.

A closer look at Trine’s numbers

The 3,600 count includes 1,700 students studying on Trine’s main campus in Angola and 1,900 students taking classes at Trine’s other locations, including School of Professional Studies campuses in Indiana and Michigan, Trine University Peoria (Ariz.) and through its Dual Enrollment Program. Main campus students take seated classes and the majority of the other students also take seated classes as well, as opposed to growth coming from students in online classes.

Trine credits its high job placement rate as one reason for its influx of students. Of Trine students who graduated in 2013, 97 were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduating. Nationally syndicated column Motley Fool ranks Trine as being third in nation for its high job placement rate.

Other reasons for the increase include more international students, an increase in student retention and more visits to campus.

“One of the reasons for our success and growth was a strategic focus on international students for our undergraduate and graduate programs,” said Stuart Jones, Ph.D., vice president for enrollment management. “Our new School of Health Sciences definitely brought in more undergrads and graduate students in the new Doctor of Physical Therapy program, so that helped.”

Another plus for Trine is an increase in retention rates in all programs, showing the school’s commitment to helping students succeed and persist, he said.

The Office of Admission also benefitted from boosting visits by prospective students and their families. Many Trine students report being on Trine’s vibrant, smaller campus felt comfortable and as if they were at home. “We had great success in getting prospective students to come see us and experience Trine; experience something greater – It’s A Trine Thing,” he said.

About ICI and CIC

ICI (, a nonprofit association, represents Indiana’s 31 private, nonprofit, regionally accredited colleges and universities.

Since 1956, CIC ( has been helping member colleges and universities find ways to increase their visibility and providing them with a broad range of initiatives to improve the quality of education and strengthen institutional resources. More than 620 nonprofit and independent colleges and universities in the country are members of CIC.

Effective 7/29/2014, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Trine University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses and that the program is progressing toward accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.