Enrollment Nearly Doubles at Ashford

Enrollment at Ashford University has nearly doubled in a year, thanks mostly to an increase in participation in its online programs.

            Total enrollment on the University’s “census date,” the tenth day of attendance of the fall semester, was 847, compared to 459 total students last year, an 85% overall increase. Undergraduate students numbered 587, compared to 391 in 2004, (a 50% increase), while there were 260 students enrolled in Ashford’s graduate programs, compared to 68 a year ago (a 382% increase.)

            “The fall semester’s enrollment figures are more than encouraging,” said Dr. Jane McAuliffe, University Chancellor. “It’s not very often that you see this percentage of increase in the number of students attending a University.”

            While the largest increases in the University’s student body came in its online programs, McAuliffe pointed out that there was also a small jump in enrollment at Ashford’s Clinton campus. The on-campus enrollment grew from 391 students in 2004 to 398 this year, a 2% increase, she noted.

            Much of the on-campus growth was because of Ashford’s new accelerated Bachelor of Organizational Management degree program that attracted 22 students. This program is designed for students who have some full-time work experience and want to improve their understanding of how organizations function and develop effective skills in management and leadership. Each accelerated course lasts only five weeks and students attend only one night each week.

            “There are a lot of students out there who have attended college and have some credits but have never completed their bachelor’s degree,” said Waunita Sullivan, Director of Admissions. “Our accelerated program allows them to transfer up to 90 credits into the program and eventually get that degree.”

            One student who has taken advantage of the new program is Sondra Meyers of Clinton, who received an associate’s degree from Mount St. Clare College (Ashford’s

predecessor.)

            “I thought the idea of a two-year degree was satisfactory at the time,” she said. After graduation, she started in her business career, advancing to human resources manager at the Family Dollar Distribution Center in Maquoketa. “My years of experience are good, but a bachelor’s degree would make me more marketable if I ever go out looking for another job.”

            Meyers likes the idea of being able to take the accelerated courses at Ashford’s Clinton campus. “I live in Clinton and work in Maquoketa, and I would rather take the courses in a classroom rather than online. I thought if I don’t do it now, I wouldn’t ever do it.”

            Her classmate, Jessup Schroeder, who works for the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, also likes the concept of the accelerated program. A year ago, Schroeder, who had accumulated 46 credit hours of college credit from the University of Wisconsin, decided to finish his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice by taking two traditional classes each semester at Clinton’s University.

            “It would have taken me about eight years to finish my degree in the traditional way,” he said. “Now I plan to finish this program in a little more than two years.”

            Ashford also recently introduced its online and on-campus M.B.A. programs and is currently enrolling new students for them. The accelerated format M.B.A. program will be offered at the Clinton campus. The 33-36 credit program can be completed in as little as 16 months; students attend the six-week courses one night each week.

Founded in 1918 as Mount St. Clare College in Clinton, Iowa, Ashford University is a coeducational, liberal arts institution regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with programs in education, business, computer animation and graphic design and other areas.  The University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a range of student activities and athletics, at its Clinton campus.  Online degree programs are available in education, organizational management, business administration, and psychology.   For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu.