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Enrollment numbers for University, Firelands down

Both the University’s main campus and Firelands have gone down in enrollment this academic year.

While the University went down in body count by 2.4 percent, the Firelands campus went down in student body count by 6.3 percent.

However, Joseph Frizado, vice provost for Academic Operations and Assessments for the University, said the two numbers are probably not connected.

There are a number of different influences of the enrollment numbers at both Firelands and the University.

Director of Marketing and Community Relations for Firelands Dean Schnurr said one of the reasons the numbers might be down for Firelands is because of the economy.

“Regional campuses are countercyclical to the economy,” he said. “As the economy improves, there is a drop in enrollment because students take classes because they didn’t have jobs and will go back and drop out of education if they get one.”

However, as compared to other regional campuses, Firelands has experienced the least drop in the area.

Frizado said this is because even though many students go to Firelands to pursue an associate’s degree, there are certain degrees where students can get a four year degree.

“They can be pursued online or having professors from main campus go to Firelands,” he said.

This may have caused a less decrease than the other surrounding colleges like Owens and Terra, who have decreased into double digits, Frizado said.

Because of the decrease in students, Schnurr said the Firelands is taking their budget into consideration.

“We are taking a close look to our budget to reduce operation budgets,” he said. “But we may have to use some of our reserves to offset the reduction in enrollment.”

Frizado said the climate of the economy doesn’t usually have as big of an impact on four-year degree universities.

One of the reasons why they went down in numbers this year is because the University was looking to bring in a more academically prepared freshman class.

“If you look back three or four years, there were larger freshman classes then but they were not as academically prepared, meaning their high school GPA and SAT scores were lower,” he said. “We retained a smaller amount of them.”

That’s why last year they let in a more academically prepared freshman class and they noticed a higher retention rate, 75.8 percent of students from last year came back this year.

That is one reason, Frizado said, why the number of students at the University is smaller this year than last year. They continued to only accept students that are more academically prepared.

One system the University and Firelands are using for the first time this year to help increase enrollment is called Firelands Pathway Program.

This is where a select few students that try to apply to the University who show positive signs but didn’t quite make the qualifications have another option available to them. They can become a Firelands student but take classes at the University.

There were 20 students enrolled this first year in the program.

“If they are successful for that year, they can become a BGSU student,” Frizado said.

Sophomore Sarah McClure thinks the program is a great idea and the University should offer it further next year.

“It is good that the University is trying to up their game,” she said. “I think it’s really cool for them to offer that option. It’s better than not getting accepted into the school.”

She also thinks this is a good idea because of the struggle some students have with standardized tests.

“It is true that a lot of students aren’t good at standardized tests so it’s good that the school is looking beyond that score to the actual student, especially if they did a good job with GPA and not the SAT or ACT,” she said.

Schurr said Firelands is also working really closely with high schools around the area like Sandusky High School.

“We created something called Blue Streak University to assist them to get college credit while still in high school,” he said.

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