Enrollment at Alma College remains strong. The fall 2019 student headcount is 1,442 — the fourth highest enrollment in Alma’s 133-year existence.
This fall’s entering class represents one of the college’s top 10 largest incoming classes — and the most diverse — in the college’s history. The group also includes the college’s largest number of international students and maintains a strong academic profile consistent with past classes.
“A new school year has begun at Alma, and I’m as enthused as I have ever been about the impact of the education our faculty provide and the transformative opportunities our students have to gain the skills and knowledge they need to thrive after they graduate,” says Alma College President Jeff Abernathy “There is much to celebrate at Alma College.”
Strong academic programs and opportunities to participate in real-world experiences — from internships to research to off-campus and global studies — continue to attract students to Alma, says Abernathy. Six years since its launch, the Alma Venture program — which assures access to every student of up to $2,500 to offset the cost of a high-impact out-of-classroom experience — has awarded over a million dollars and funded more than 600 student experiences.
“The Venture grant has enabled hundreds of students to participate in applied learning they would not otherwise have pursued,” says Abernathy.
The combination of strong academic programs and applied learning has contributed to student success after they graduate. Nine-five percent of Alma’s 2018 graduating class reported being employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.
With the completed renovations to the Alma Opera House Block, students have opportunities to engage more fully with the Alma community, says Abernathy. The restored Opera House features college student apartments along with retail bays and community gathering spaces.
“Finally, nearly 10 years after the 2010 fire, the renovations to the Opera House Block are nearly complete,” he says. “Thirty-nine students have moved into their upstairs apartments, and we have leases with four tenants for the ground-level storefronts. We are grateful for the generous public support for this community project — donors from the community and college provided more than $6.5 million to restore this historic community landmark.”
The passion of Alma alumni and friends also has had a strong influence on Alma’s enrollment, says Abernathy. More than 70 percent of this year’s incoming class were referred to Alma by a member of the Alma College family. The Alma Ambassador Program®, an engagement initiative designed to organize, support and promote all types of volunteerism benefitting the college, has grown to 4,500 members; the college’s referral program is a key component of Ambassador.
In addition, the college has raised more than $105 million toward a $120 million comprehensive fundraising effort to enhance the institution’s endowment, strengthen and enrich key programs and modernize campus facilities.
“The strong engagement and financial support we receive from alumni, parents and friends help ensure that our students have the tools and experiences to succeed both at Alma and after they graduate,” says Abernathy.
The student success processes require full campus support both for attracting new students and retaining returning students, says Abernathy.
“I am grateful to the faculty, staff, coaches, students and alumni for their collaborative work in bringing another outstanding class to Alma,” he says. “Fulfilling our mission to produce graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly starts with great students like these. Go Scots!”