Mount Marty University Aims To Continue Enrollments Increase
10 Sep 2020
Yankton, Education, Community, Community Growth
A new approach to outreach is expected to keep student enrollment growing for the foreseeable future at Mount Marty University’s (MMU).
The enrollment numbers announced earlier in the week showed 153 new students this fall, a 36.6% increase over the fall of 2019 and the largest overall Yankton campus enrollment since 2006, MMU’s Vice President for Student Success, Katie Harrell, told the Press & Dakotan. This fall’s freshmen are the largest incoming class since the 1980s.
In addition, 60 new transfer students raises total MMU new enrollments for the fall to 213, well over last year’s 170, she said.
The new enrollments boosted MMU’s Yankton campus enrollment 11% and enrollment at all three campuses (Yankton, Watertown and Sioux Falls) 10%.
“My enrollment team did a lot of work,” Harrell said. “They all are dedicated to this momentum that we’re seeing at Mount Marty, and we put strategies in place to use this as our benchmark. Every year should look like it did this year and continue to incrementally grow.”
In addition, the demographics of incoming classes are changing.
“We have always been heavy when it comes to females compared to males on campus, but over the last two years, that really has started to level out,” Harrell said. “At this point, within our residence halls, we do require more male space than we do female space for the first time in quite some time.”
As exciting as it is, the change has brought on some challenges as well.
“Corby Hall has always been female designated,” Harrell said. “In the last couple years, we’ve had to transition that to a coed building. That was really shown this year. We have almost two full floors that are for men.”
Though MMU has been reaching out more regionally in recent years, this year has also brought enrollments from Texas, California, Georgia and Florida.
“We actually did see a spike in numbers from secondary markets,” Harrell said. “We also had a significant bump in our freshmen international students.”
This year, international students have come from not only from Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, but also from the European market, including: Germany, the U.K., Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, as well as Australia.
“Last year, we realigned how we were recruiting those students and how we were essentially selling them this experience of Mount Marty,” Harrell said. “We go to a student and say, ‘We really would like you to come and experience our campus, and this is how much it’s going to cost you.’”
Harrell attributes the bump in international students to the new marketing strategy, and the rise in domestic students to improved communication.
“We’re fully functioning online, so they were getting regular intervals of communication from us,” Harrell said. “We really are working to get those built on a personal level so that they connect to the student: where they are and who they are, what they’re interested in and so forth.”
Also, the admission’s team works with the coaching staff to establish relationships with students individually.
“The coaches are working with families as well as the enrollment counselors,” Harrell said. “It’s really a holistic approach. It isn’t just getting to know the students and selling to the student. It really is, ‘How do I welcome this entire family into the community?’”
For this reason, MMU’s 2020 enrollment numbers was really a group effort, she said.
“It was a team of people that really worked together,” Harrell said. “That dedication to Mount Marty and seeing us succeed is really what drove that.”`