Colby-Sawyer College’s enrollment for the incoming Class of 2023 increased by 11% from last year despite declining enrollment figures both regionally and nationally at small, private liberal arts institutions.
The college met its goal for the Class of 2023 with 292 enrolled students — which features a 26% increase in students from New Hampshire — bucking trends nationally where enrollment at nonprofit, Title IV institutions has declined for a third straight year, according to a report released by the National Student Clearing House Research Center. The report points to a similar decline among private, nonprofit four-year colleges in the Northeast.
“With more than 51% of our students receiving job offers from their required internships and clinical placements, and with a placement rate for the Class of 2018 of 99% in jobs or graduate school, our enrollment increase shows that students and their families are seeing the value in what we offer,” Colby-Sawyer President Sue Stuebner said. “Our students receive a high quality liberal arts based foundation and significant career preparation through experiential learning that prepare them not only to be successful in their first position, but also to be leaders in their professions of choice.”
Nearly half of Colby-Sawyer’s incoming class is made up of first-generation students, with 100% of enrolled students receiving some sort of financial assistance. Statistics compiled by the college’s Office of Admissions highlights a commitment to working with families to ensure an affordable education through payment plans, as well as various scholarship, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.
“Colby-Sawyer has a history of attracting and graduating students who are the first in their families to attend college,” Stuebner said. “We understand that there are unique challenges that our first-generation students bring and we work very hard to help them toward their goals. Our combination of faculty who provide support and challenge in the classroom, a dedicated staff who deliver important resources, and our student mentor system that benefits first-generation students all combine for a highly engaged learning environment.”
Colby-Sawyer also saw a 21% increase in visits to its 200-acre campus over the last year, which Stuebner said is critical in recruiting prospective students. Anna Miner, vice president for admissions and financial aid, said the college continually reminds families of the importance of campus visits, and strives to make tours convenient to schedule whether in person, on the phone, or through its website.
“We really try hard to replicate the student experience through the admissions process and offer a sense of place and support to prospective students,” Miner said.
Additionally, 44% percent of the Class of 2023 are recruited student-athletes. Colby-Sawyer offers 23 varsity athletics programs that compete in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), an NCAA Division III conference comprised of 13 member schools located throughout New England.