Class of 2023 enrollment drops from previous years


Simpsonian File Photo

Simpson has lengthened SC 101 courses from one semester to two.

by Danielle Blake , Staff Reporter

The enrollment of the first-year class at Simpson College is down to 297 students compared to the previous 350 students from the previous year.

Enrollment rates tend to fluctuate at schools across the country. The reasons are various. The political environment can be an impact on secondary education enrollment rates.

“One of the broader trends in public education is that historically when the economy is good and the unemployment rates are low, traditional enrollment in institution is typically lower,” said Anna Peña, director of first-year experience and community engagement.

 Demographics are also changing in different regions. Those changing demographics can also affect employment rates. 

There are fewer students graduating high school than ever before, so this is a trend that we’re seeing,” Peña said.

When there are fewer students graduating from high school, it’s going to result in a lack of the number of students seeking a secondary education.

Lower enrollment rates at Simpson also affects how many students who are going to be on the Simpson Promise. The Simpson Promise is a financial aid opportunity for Iowa families that make an annual income of $60,000 or less.

 The Simpson Promise has provided great opportunities for students that may not have easy access to secondary education.

 “It’s fantastic,” first-year Caroline McAlexander said. “There is no way I would’ve been able to pay for college, so I would either be at community college right now or be entering straight into the workforce if I wasn’t granted this scholarship.”

The first-year experience is essential to Simpson College. Most of the time, it isn’t disclosed who is and who isn’t on the Simpson Promise. Simpson wants all first-year students to have an amazing experience no matter what their background is.

“We are passionate about inclusion and access for higher education, so that’s extremely important for students and providing a community where students can be successful and providing access for students who may not have had access to higher education in the past,” Peña said.

The first-year experience is based on four pillars. Academics, social, connections and development are needed to make the experience a great one.

Having less first-year students hasn’t stunted the objectives of the college.

“Although fewer students enrolled this year, enrollment for this program has exceeded goals each of the past two years,” vice president for enrollment Deb Tierney said.

Simpson College is already working on recruiting their class of 2024 and are very hopeful about it.

“We evaluate our recruitment strategies each and every year. At this time, the admissions staff is very involved in the recruitment of next fall’s class. Changing times require changing systems, procedures and tactics,” Tierney said.

Some recruitment efforts include campus visits, even online ones. Simpson is also trying to connect with tech-savvy prospective students according to Tierney. All these efforts and more are expected to attract more students to Simpson next fall.