Indiana University has seen declining summer enrollment at its Bloomington campus despite growth during the traditional academic year.
About 1,000 more students enrolled at the Bloomington campus in fall 2017 compared with fall 2011. Summer enrollment at the flagship campus declined by more than 800 students over the same time period, the Herald-Times reported.
University officials cited the growing economy as the decline’s primary driver because more people choose to enter the labor market instead of attending college. Officials said the decline is a positive development because students will have more opportunities for summer employment and are graduating faster.
“With low unemployment rates, it’s fair to assume that more summer jobs are available, and many students want to use this period to earn money and experience,” said John Applegate, the university’s executive vice president for university academic affairs.
The enrollment gains during the traditional academic year are partly the result of a broader reach. The flagship campus actively recruits students around the world, while its regional campuses focus on students in the surrounding area.
It’s also cheaper for students at the university to take more classes during the spring and fall semesters. Indiana University offers a choice called banded tuition to encourage on-time graduation. Students would pay the same rate whether they take 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours during a single semester. But banded tuition isn’t offered in the summer.
University officials also said fewer students need to take summer classes to graduate on time because they’re starting college with more credits. High school students can earn early college credits through advanced placement and dual-credit courses. About 73 percent of new undergraduate students already had college credit when they came to the Bloomington campus, an average of 12.9 credit hours per student, officials said.