Freshmen head count announced
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 14:10
Loyola University released its census for the academic year last Friday, and the final headcount for the incoming freshman class is 620.
Originally planning for 875 freshmen in this year’s class, Loyola fell short of the mark. The number of incoming freshmen at the time of orientation was 639, according to Roberta Kaskel, interim vice president of enrollment management.
Marc Manganaro, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said the census data, including a better retention rate than expected, puts Loyola at a $7.5 million deficit for this academic year.
Kaskel said that a number of students changed status from full-time freshmen due to an assortment of challenges that arose after orientation.
Manganaro said that the university expected the number of freshmen to drop before the census data was recorded.
“We know we will lose students between now and the census date. That happens,” Manganaro said.
Kaskel said that the drop in numbers would not be noticeable to a statistician, but each reduction carries a personal cost in the Loyola community.
“We feel it because we’re all educators, so every student we lose we see through a very personal lens,” Kaskel said.
Thomas Spence, vice provost for institutional effectiveness, assessment and student success, said that the university uses the end of September to take the university census each year due to late enrollments in graduate programs. Consistency in when the university records the data is key, according to Spence.
“At some point, we have to decide as an institution, this is when we’re going to count. And if we aren’t consistent about that, then fluctuations may be due to when we chose to count rather than actual factors,” Spence said.
Spence said that he feels that the impact of the smaller freshman class should be put in context of the larger Loyola community’s numbers.
According to Spence, Loyola’s total undergraduate enrollment has decreased from 3,174 last year to 2,867 this year, a 9.7 percent drop. Overall enrollment including graduate schools went from 5,082 to 4,864, a 4.3 percent dip.
Manganaro said he believes that as the university develops a new strategic plan for the entire campus, it should evaluate its size as an institution.
“As the university moves forward through the strategic planning process and its deliberations, we need to be deliberate about how we’re shaped, how large we are as an undergraduate institution, rather than let the market drive us,” Manganaro said.
Karl Gommel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org