Eastern’s Graduate School anticipates an increase of 10 percent or more in the number of graduate students they will see this year.
According to a press release sent out by the university, departments seeing the largest gains are technology, educational leadership, nutrition and dietetics, biological sciences, educational administration, political science, and music education.
These numbers will not be official until 10th day enrollment figures are released, but Ryan Hendrickson, interim dean of the graduate school, said early reports of numbers are positive, with numbers signaling a significant growth from a year ago.
“A number of (the programs) have experienced significant growth,” Hendrickson said.
Graduate students made up 15.5 percent of the university’s total enrollment last fall.
Because this number is increasing, according to a press release, Hendrickson thinks this will have a significant and positive impact on Eastern’s identity.
“Graduate education always boosts a university’s reputation,” Hendrickson continued in a press release. “In addition to providing advanced professional training to its students, it enhances the research component of the university.”
He said students and faculty both benefit from a graduate-level education.
In the press release, it said the growth in graduate students is being experienced by all four of Eastern’s academic colleges: the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Education and Professional Studies, the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, and the College of Sciences.
Hendrickson gave two main reasons for this growth: the amount of online graduate programs and the school’s outreach to international students.
“Many of our programs are offered in an online format,” Hendrickson said, “and we’ve noticed exponential growth in all of them.”
One area of international students the graduate students has seen an increase in is India.
“Many of these students are attracted to the technology program,” Hendrickson said. “These are high demand degrees.”
To be more forward thinking and innovative in their approach to getting new students, Hendrickson said they look at what students want to study and their career orientation.
“People understand that to advance proffesionally, they need a graduate degree,” Hendrickson said. “So we see more and more people enrolling.”
He added that nationally, there has been a trend of growth in graduate enrollment.
Hendrickson said he believes this increase in graduate enrollment will continue in coming years.
Vicki Woodard, Eastern’s coordinator of public information, did not comment on the enrollment status of other classes of students.
She said official enrollment numbers would be released Sept. 7 or Sept. 8.
In the fall of 2015, there were 1,318 graduate students. The graduate school offers 36 master’s degree programs, two specialist degree programs and 10 certificate programs.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]