EVANSVILLE, Ind. — For the seventh consecutive semester, graduate enrollment at the University of Southern Indiana has increased to record-setting growth while overall enrollment decreased by 2.6 percent.
Since 2016, graduate student numbers have surpassed those established in USI’s 54-year history. And now at 1,537 graduate students, graduate enrollment has increased 6.1 percent compared to last year.
“It was rewarding,” USI Provost Mohammed Khayum said. “It’s encouraging for us to continue and feel confident about the efforts that we’re making, particularly in this area.”
Much of this growth is due to the success of The Romain College of Business’ online MBA program.
“Our graduate programs, including our highly-successful MBA program, are prime examples of how we are innovating to meet the needs of our community, the region and beyond,” USI president Ronald S. Rochon said.
The program’s dual AACSB Accreditation in business and accounting places USI’s business program in an elite class, Rochon said, as its linkage with the professional organization is only shared by 2 percent of business schools in the world.
Khayum said the program’s aim to provide flexibility for professionals in their current positions helped increase the number of people seeking graduate degrees.
“I think our MBA program symbolizes what is happening in terms of the working population looking for opportunities to be able to advance their careers in ways to accommodate their personal lives and work schedules,” he said. “Our focus has always been to ensure the curriculum and the experiences we’re designing are relevant for people in the workforce.”
The university also welcomes the most college-ready freshmen in the school’s history, Rochon said. The 1,585 first-year class holds an average 3.44 GPA on a 4.0 high school scale.
“USI has become a campus of choice for students who have high academic standards and goals,” Rochon said. “We focus on providing a high-quality education in an environment that is nurturing and prepares our students for all aspects of their lives.”
University officials cited a “highly competitive marketplace” when sharing the news of the overall USI enrollment for the 2019 fall semester — it sits at 10,734, down 2.6 percent from 2018.
The total enrollment for 2018 — 11,021 — dropped slightly with 12 fewer students compared to the previous year, and 2017 the enrollment was 11,033, an increase of 340 students compared to 2016’s 10,693 total enrollment. Official total enrollment for fall 2015 was 10,665 students.
The university said they’ve seen continued growth in four, five and six-year graduation rates though.
Rochon credits the increase in graduation rates to the university’s College Achievement Program, a dual credit system that’s accessible to 27 high schools across Indiana. CAP serves as a major source for incoming college students to graduate in four years or less.
With the continued development of the MBA program, as well as the university’s 13 master’s and two doctoral programs, Khayum said USI is confident more students will enroll for graduate programs. He anticipates USI will mark another record-setting semester this spring.