Lakeland College welcomed its largest incoming class in a decade to its main campus this fall.
The 154-year old college has 277 new students at its main campus in Sheboygan County, the largest group since 2005. The total includes 211 traditional full-time freshmen, a 29 percent increase over last fall.
"We had a great recruiting year for our home campus, enrolling an energetic, active and engaged group of young people, and we did it at a time when many of our peers throughout the Midwest are facing tough enrollment challenges," said Lakeland President Dan Eck.
The college's total enrollment for this fall is 3,292 students. That includes 798 students at its home campus in Sheboygan County; 2,204 undergraduates and graduate students taking classes through the college's seven Evening, Weekend and Online centers across Wisconsin; and 290 students enrolled at its two-year campus in Tokyo, Japan.
"Our recruiting process is helping students understand why they should choose Lakeland, and how to approach this very significant decision in their lives," Eck said. "It's easy to take for granted, but the effort required to successfully transition from high school to college should not be underestimated. Our faculty and staff excel at helping students make the right choices on their paths towards graduation and beyond.
"Students are also selecting Lakeland for the quality of our programs, such as our accounting program, which is ranked in the top 100 in the nation. In addition, numerous facilities and equipment upgrades, including the newest classroom technologies, a new cellular lab for undergraduate research and state-of-the-art airplanes for our aviation program, are driving students to Lakeland."
Lakeland's main campus incoming class includes 211 domestic freshmen, 52 transfers from other institutions and 12 international students. The class includes students from 18 states. Fifty-five percent are from Wisconsin, 17 percent from Illinois and 7 percent from Michigan. There are 27 students from Sheboygan County, a 23 percent increase from a year ago.
"We had a higher percentage of out-of-state students this fall, so our 10 residence halls are full," Eck said. "We also saw a nice increase in local students choosing Lakeland, and we'll continue to make that a priority. I often hear people in the community say ‘I am seeing and hearing about Lakeland everywhere.' We need to keep that momentum rolling."
The 290 students in Japan are also a record for that campus, which Lakeland opened in 1991. Lakeland offers students in Tokyo a two-year associate's degree, and many transfer to the Wisconsin main campus to complete their bachelor's degree.
"Lakeland graduates will live and work in a global marketplace, and advances in technology are increasingly making connections easier," Eck said. "Students from Asia, Europe and Africa are discovering that they can receive a U.S.-style education through Lakeland College-Japan, and the door opens for them to come to the U.S. to get a full cultural immersion as part of their education."
Lakeland continued to see large numbers of Wisconsin high school students enrolling in its Concurrent Academic Progress Program (CAPP) courses. These courses are approved by Lakeland faculty and allow high school students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. This fall, 520 high school students in Sheboygan County are earning college credit through Lakeland while taking classes within their high schools. Many are enrolled in more than one course.
"Lakeland's CAPP courses give college-bound students a great opportunity to save money on the cost of college," Eck said. "We are proud of our partnerships with high schools throughout the region in giving students the chance to prepare for the rigors of college and make access to higher education more affordable."