Enrollment is on a roll at Simpson


Photo by Austin Hronich/The Simpsonian

by Daria Mather, Staff Writer

Last school year, Simpson College and other private institutions found themselves fighting for in-state-students to enroll in classes. Simpson faced a program review and many faculty and staff reductions due to the small class size. This year, Simpson is seeing an increase in the number of freshmen attending the school.

According to Tracy Dinesen, the associate dean of academic affairs and retention, the freshman class has 360 students, compared to 296 students in 2017.

In the fall of 2017, only 31 percent of students were from out of state, while 69 percent are from Iowa. Last year, the college introduced the Simpson Promise, a program to help low-income families pay for college. The goal was to bring more students to campus. The program brought in a 42 percent increase in the number of in-state students enrolling at Simpson, Dinesen said.

Despite what Dinesen called the “summer melt,” where freshmen leave before registration or before the add/drop date, the freshman class still has a larger amount of students than the previous year.

Dinesen has been working hard to increase retention by supporting students in every way possible. She uses her knowledge and resources to direct students and keep them on track to earn their degree.

A new survey was implemented for all freshmen to assess their own study skills and other abilities when it comes to school-related stressors, such as homework and exams.

Although the survey was 50 minutes long, about 85 percent of the freshman have completed it.

Dinesen said she hopes this survey will lead students to seek help on their own before they are in desperate need of it. This will provide freshmen with information about resources on campus that can be of help.

Dinesen is working on procuring the budget to help assess freshmen around midterms and sophomore students to help make sure they are seeking and receiving the help they need to stay on track to earn their degrees.

Even with the Simpson Promise bringing in as many students as it has, Dinesen said she believes Simpson’s enrollment will stay between 1,100 and 1,250 students as it has for many years in the past.

As the Simpson Promise program continues to draw in more in-state students, there may be fewer out-of-state students attending the school in the future.