September 10, 2018

Do Larger Classes Mean Fewer Students Stay At Ball State?

Original story from   Indiana Public Radio

Article origination Indiana Public Radio
Ball State University via Facebook

Ball State University via Facebook

Ball State University has found a curious correlation in its enrollment numbers over the last few years.  School officials are now asking whether larger-than-normal freshman classes caused a downturn in how many of those students stayed for year two.

Last year’s freshman class at Ball State set a record – 4,002 students. And university student affairs officials say the Muncie school has seen an above-average class size for the past eight years.

But new numbers from Ball State also show its retention rate – that is, how many freshmen in a given year go on to be sophomores at the same campus – has dipped after the three largest classes in recent years.

University president Geoffrey Mearns says while the school doesn’t know if one number caused the other, it’s something Ball State wants to study.

“In terms of the number of freshmen who show up, some of that is dictated by forces outside of our control.  That’s a product of the market and competition.  These are the product of things we have more control over.”

This year, Ball State only retained 78.3 percent of last year’s class.  Kay Bales, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, says Ball State’s goal for retention every year is 80 percent.

This year’s freshman class is also not as big as last year’s.  Ball State has reported having 3,704 freshmen for Fall 2018.

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