Record enrollment at Jamestown amid a national enrollment decline

Natalie McKenna
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

JAMESTOWN, N.D.: Among a national decline in higher education enrollment, University of Jamestown has achieved success in breaking its enrollment record, and welcoming the largest number of students to campus in the University’s history for the 21-22 academic year. A total of 1,295 students will be taking classes at UJ this year, which includes 469 new students (376 undergraduate and 93 graduate), and 826 returning students. This is the second year in a row that University of Jamestown has continued to increase enrollment.

The University’s shocking 23% increase in enrollment far exceeded the national higher education enrollment estimates, which, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, showed a 3.5% decline.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome a growing number of students to the Jimmie family. The University has been very strategic in adding new programs and improving our facilities in an effort to align the growing demands of the workforce with the needs and wants of today’s students,” said Dr. Polly Peterson, University of Jamestown President. “It takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to recruiting and retaining students, and I am so grateful to our faculty, staff and coaches who have worked tirelessly to make the UJ experience one that is getting the attention of the state and region.”

Recent improvements to campus, including the 61,000-square-foot Harold Newman Arena, the new Charlotte and Gordon Hansen Stadium, and the state-of-the-art Schuler Engineering Lab, have contributed to attracting new students. Additionally, University of Jamestown’s consistent rankings in both U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review as one of the best academic institutions in the Midwest have emphasized the University’s quality education, which blends the liberal arts with professional preparation.

The graduate programs at University of Jamestown have also seen steady growth over the last few years, and this year was no exception. The master’s programs, which include a Master of Arts in Leadership, a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction, and a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling, combined with the University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, are up 11% in enrollment as a group. Ninety-three new students have enrolled in the graduate programs, bringing the total number of graduate students to 260.

Greg Ulland, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Retention, credits the small, supportive campus and diverse opportunities available at UJ as some of the top reasons the University’s student population is experiencing growth.

“Recruitment at the University of Jamestown is much more than simply bringing in students. We try to find individuals who are highly motivated to achieve success,” commented Ulland. “A large part of recruitment is retaining students. I’m proud of the work our entire campus community puts in, every year, to make University of Jamestown such a formative place for our students to experience their college years.”

In support of their long-term commitment to students, the University also saw significant improvements in retention this year, with a 70.6% retention rate in students who returned after their freshman year.

Ulland expanded, “We are a family here. That means we offer our students unmatched support to achieve their goals. I think students and their families are drawn to that atmosphere, and we are prepared to fulfill those promises to them.”

The University’s reach has also grown both nationally and globally. The 1,295 students enrolled at University of Jamestown include students from 16 countries and 34 states. These statistics break down to highlight 43% of undergraduate students from North Dakota, 16% from Minnesota, and 17% from Washington, California, and Arizona.

“We are building a winning culture focused on the mission of graduating students who are holistically prepared for life and work,” explained Dr. Peterson. “It is inspiring to know that what we are doing is making a difference in the lives of an increasing number of students.”