Northwestern State University’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health grew its number of students by 10 percent as part of an overall university enrollment increase to 9,819 students for the fall 2016 semester. This fall’s enrollment was 640 students (7 percent) higher than last fall.
A total of 2,425 students were enrolled in the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, an increase of 222 from last year.
“I was looking for a top nursing program and found Northwestern,” said freshman Alexandra Piedrahita of Baton Rouge. “I came for a visit and fell in love with the campus and the nursing program. I found they cared about me as an individual.”
Piedrahita, a graduate of University High in Baton Rouge, said the program’s high success rate on nursing exams was a factor in choosing Northwestern State.
“I’m confident I will do well in the profession after the preparation I will get here,” she said.
The total number of students at Northwestern State was the highest since 2005, the first year of selective admissions.
“Enrollment growth is a strong indicator of market responsiveness,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Jim Henderson. “When you combine high quality, relevant academic programs and an enriching student experience with the rich traditions and innovative spirit of Northwestern State, growth is inevitable.”
Northwestern State developed a Strategic Framework a year ago with a vision to become the nation’s premier regional university. The five-point plan focused on the student experience, academic excellence, market responsiveness, athletic prominence and community enrichment. Nursing, allied health and teacher education programs remain the university’s traditional core.
Over the past 18 months, the university has re-established the College of Business and Technology; created the Department of New Media, Journalism, and Communication Arts; and strengthened the School of Biological and Physical Sciences by adding the state’s only applied microbiology degree. NSU’s Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts is a designated Center of Excellence and the Louisiana Scholars’ College at NSU is the state-designated honors program.
“We know that a college education is the surest pathway to a high quality of life.,” said Henderson. “It is incumbent upon our state colleges and universities to find ways to expand access, and we at NSU embrace that responsibility. Doing so opens opportunities to our students and promises our employer community a talent-based competitive advantage.”
Other academic areas of the university recording large increases in enrollment included social work, which went from 208 to 271 students (30 percent), the School of Business which increased its student count from 1070 to 1178 (10 percent) and biology, which enrolled 542 students, 45 more that the fall of 2015 (nine percent).