Indiana State University Newsroom

New goals for ISU: 14,000 students by 2017, higher graduation rates

September 7, 2012


Having this fall surpassed a goal of 12,000 students two years ahead of schedule, Indiana State University has a new enrollment target - 14,000 students by 2017.

At the same time, a new set of benchmarks that university administrators presented to trustees on Friday makes it clear that Indiana State is out to ensure that more students stay in college and complete a four-year degree.

The new enrollment goal would mark the largest student body in Indiana State's nearly 150-year history, eclipsing a record head count of 13,533 in 1970. Plans call for the university to achieve its goal by adding more than 1,000 undergraduates and more than 800 graduate students during the next five years. More than half of that growth would come from boosting the number of students completing degrees online.

At the same time, Indiana State will seek to increase its four-year graduation rate from just more than 22 percent to 30 percent in five years and boost its six-year graduation rate from nearly 42 percent to 50 percent. Graduation goals are even higher for students transferring from community colleges

"I am pleased at the progress we have made so far, but my colleagues and I look forward to the new benchmarks and goals that we have set for 2017 as we continue with The Pathway to Success," university President Dan Bradley said in reference to a revised strategic plan for the university.

Karl Burgher, Indiana State's chief strategy officer, presented the revised goals in an update to the plan implemented in 2009 and originally designed to run through 2014. ISU trustees earlier this year directed university officials to extend the plan for three additional years with revised goals. Those goals presented Friday include:

• Increase the number of programs with experiential learning from 68 percent to 100 percent• Expand the number of students involved in community engagement from 6,145 to 7,500

• Boost the number of businesses served by the Business Engagement Center from the current number of 21 to 40

• Increase funding for the Unbounded Possibilities initiative designed to strengthen the university's most distinctive and promising programs from $1.5 million to $5 million across the next five years

• Limit tuition increases to increases in the consumer price index and reduce the university's share of funding for intercollegiate athletics through greater reliance on the ISU Foundation and other external funding

• Increase the proportion of new faculty achieving tenure from the current 49 percent to 80 percent while also increasing faculty retention and growing the ranks of women and minority faculty to more closely reflect the diversity of the student body

• Increase the six-year retention rate for staff from the current 42 percent or 52 percent, depending on classification, to 75 percent across-the-board.

"We have developed a strategic initiative implementation process that is very data and metric driven," Burgher said. "As has been said many times over, if you can't measure it you can't manage it and thus, cannot take charge of your own destiny. ISU is charting a robust path."

Board action was not required on the revised strategic plan benchmarks but Indiana State trustees did act on an initiative designed to help increase college affordability and boost graduation rates. Board members approved a "bracketed" fee schedule for undergraduates that will allow students taking six to nine credit hours of summer classes to pay a fee equivalent to six credit hours. University officials estimate the change, effective for summer 2013, will save resident undergraduates up to 35 percent on the cost of summer classes.

Also on Friday, Indiana State trustees:

• Approved a reduction in the minimum number of credit hours required for a bachelor's degree from 124 to 120 to comply with a new state law that provides for approval by the Commission for Higher Education for any program that exceeds 120 hours

• Authorized the board treasurer to seek state approval for a $3.5 million upgrade of electrical equipment at University Apartments

• Approved the 2013-15 biennial operating budget submission prepared in accordance with instructions provided by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and State Budget Agency but expressed concern about continued declines in state appropriations

• Approved the 2013-15 capital budget request to the state of Indiana totaling $63.5 million in state funding for the renovation of Normal Hall to house a Center for Student Success; the second phase of renovation to life science and chemistry laboratories; and renovation of the Arena Building for the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services; and $5.5 million in general repair and rehabilitation funds.

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or




Story Highlights

While fall enrollment at ISU has reached a 19-year high, university officials have plans to grow the size of the student-body to an all-time record while at the same ensure that more students complete a four-year degree.

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