New enrollment figures reflect a more diverse New Kensington campus

October 24, 2012

With the addition of five international students, 35 students receiving veterans benefits and nine out-of-state students, Penn State New Kensington’s enrollment has become more culturally diverse, according to Penn State’s annual snapshot count taken at the end of the sixth week of fall semester classes.

The new group of international students increases the campus total to six from China, India, Uganda and Ghana. The number of veterans at the campus continues to rise as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars wind down and more military personnel fulfill their service obligations and return to civilian status. Eight states, from California to Texas to Maryland, have sent residents to study at the New Kensington campus. The upticks are a result of several initiatives supported by Kevin Snider, chancellor of the campus.

The campus’ eight bachelor’s degree programs are a major draw for incoming students. Eighty-six percent of the 166 freshmen seek four-year degrees, with engineering being the most popular major. The remaining 14 percent are on track for an associate degree, with radiological sciences the top choice. The 2012 freshman class represents 55 different high schools; 48 percent of the class earned a Penn State scholarship.

Penn State’s Oct. 17 report shows the total enrollment at its 24 campuses has remained steady from 2011 to 2012. The University saw a slight increase in students to 96,562, up from last year’s final total of 96,519.

“Penn State’s enrollment numbers continue to reflect the University’s strength in attracting the best students, from Pennsylvania and around the world. The University continues to be among the most popular in the nation,” said Rob Pangborn, interim executive vice president and provost. “The numbers also reflect the demographic and economic realities faced by the Commonwealth. While we are experiencing a decline in the number of high school graduates in portions of the state, at the same time we are seeing higher demand for online programs as adult learners seek to advance their education and improve their economic outlook by returning to the classroom.”

Commonwealth campus student enrollment is 31,559, a 4.2 percent decline from 2011, or a decrease of 1,369 students across the 19 Commonwealth campuses. Contributing factors include falling numbers of high school graduates in Pennsylvania, especially in the west, a trend that has long been predicted by demographers and one that is expected to continue into the future. Also contributing are the decline of dual-enrolled high school students with the elimination of state funding for the initiative, and a continued, long-term downward trend in associate degree enrollments. Shifts in on-campus graduate enrollments to professional masters degrees offered through the World Campus also have had an impact.

New Kensington’s enrollment mirrors the decline in enrollment of all but one of the state institutions in western Pennsylvania. The campus experienced a dip of 11 percent, from 800 students to 715. Across Pennsylvania, 11 of the 14 state-owned universities saw a drop in their enrollments.

“Much of this loss is due to the declining high school demographics and the economy," said Patty Brady, director of enrollment management at the campus. “Over the past decade, we have seen ups and downs in our enrollment figures. Fluctuations are a part of the cycle.”

For a list of enrollments by campus, click here.


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 25, 2012