On Wednesday, Feb. 7 the Rowan University Board of Trustees met for a regularly scheduled public meeting in the Eynon Ballroom of the Chamberlain Student Center. In his address to the assembled audience, Rowan University President Ali Houshmand noted that enrollment was up across several key categories for incoming freshman, as well as transfer students. Enrollment categories also looked positive for the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine.
For Jeff Hand, the senior vice president of student affairs, the increase in enrollment is not a surprise and is based off of measures the board took at the last meeting.
“Part of the reasons that our numbers [of enrollment] are up are because we prepare year after year,” Hand said. “And so just a few months ago we got a board resolution that allows us to get the housing and tuition prices much earlier. So what was happening last year is that we could accept people but we couldn’t give them financial aid packages or scholarship packages.”
Hand said that Rowan University’s on-going enrollment rates were lower over past months because information such as financial aid, housing costs and tuition were not available until later in the application process, meaning prospective students would have to wait longer to make a decision on a school based on financial means.
“We can now we can accept and process these students earlier and that is what you’re seeing reflected in the numbers,” Hand said.
As for the long-term enrollment goals and transfer students, Hand said the university is looking to keep the full-time freshman numbers relatively flat. This is in contrast to the policy over the last several years, in which the school expanded its freshman enrollment, bringing in thousands of additional freshmen enrollments across multiple colleges.
“Now we are at the point where we are not going to grow rapidly,” Hand said. “So for [the] freshmen, we are bringing in the class we have to fit the academics we have. The other thing that is going on long-term is we are slowly inching down the full-time freshmen and scratching up to transfers. In a way, our partner schools like community colleges will allow [us] to bring in students that transfer over.”
After ratifying several agenda items concerning budgetary matters, it was time for the deans of the Rowan colleges to give their reports to the board. In his report, Dean Sanford Tweedie of the College of Communication and Creative Arts mentioned that several faculty members working in the world of sports media recently covered the Eagles Super Bowl win, both in Philadelphia and in Minnesota.
Tweedie also used the opportunity to segue into reporting to the board about the new B.A. of Sports Communication and Media, which is in the process of being established. Speaking to The Whit after the meeting, Tweedie said the timing was right to begin introducing the new major.
“It will provide students the opportunity to focus their efforts in a subject matter that students are passionate about and interested in. [Sports are] a multibillion-dollar industry in our country,” Tweedie said. “They will also walk out with a communication degree they can apply in other areas. Students can easily double major in it. We just see this as an opportunity for students and certainly on the heels of such an exciting time in the Philadelphia area.”
The next public meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held on April 25.
Additional reporting by Mackenzie Fitchett.
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