Thiel College enrollment growth rises above national and regional higher education trends

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Thiel College has defied enrollment trends, increasing by 7.5 percent in 2020 and just shy of 10 percent in 2021.

GREENVILLE, Pa. - BostonChron -- Thiel College is bucking the trends of recently published reports in western Pa. media citing declining enrollments at colleges and universities regionally and nationally. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported recently that the national enrollment rate for the Fall 2021 semester is down an additional 3.2 percent following a decline of 3.4 percent in the previous academic year.

Thiel College (https://www.thiel.edu/) in contrast to those numbers. Enrollment increased by 7.5 percent in 2020 and just shy of 10 percent in 2021. Undergraduate enrollment grew about 4 percent each of the last two years.

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The reports identify the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic as a primary cause of the current decline. Doug Shapiro, the executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, said if the trends continue this enrollment could be the largest enrollment decline in the last 50 years.

Thiel College has added graduate programs for business administration, clinical mental health counseling, communication and leadership, physician assistant studies and speech-language pathology. The College has also added new undergraduate degrees in data analytics, environmental safety management, exercise science and a new collaborative Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. Thiel's nursing degree comes at a time when the importance of healthcare workers has been emphasized during the worldwide pandemic. Even before COVID-19, the need for nurses was apparent. A state audit said Pennsylvania is going to be short 4,000 to 5,000 nurses by 2026.

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"We do keep our eye on the demographics. There is a declining number of 18-year-olds in this region, which is a challenge for all colleges. I'm happy to report that our efforts to offer new undergraduate and graduate programs have led to enrollment increases," Thiel College President Susan Traverso, Ph.D. said. "At Thiel, our emphasis is on letting students shape themselves into the type of leader they want to be."

About Thiel College

Thiel College (https://www.thiel.edu/) is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 undergraduate majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to new master's degree programs in speech-language pathology, physician assistant and mental health counseling.

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