Niagara University welcomed 626 freshmen to campus this fall, exceeding last year’s enrollment by 113 and surpassing its enrollment goals for the 2019-20 academic year.

In addition, the university added another 150 transfer students and 43 new exchange students from around the world, surpassed graduate credit hour goals, and enrolled 278 students in its Ontario bachelor of professional studies program, which is the maximum allowed for Niagara by the Ontario Ministry of Education. 

The increase in the number of students who chose Niagara University for their college years is credited to new enrollment, retention, and housing initiatives. 

“Last year, we made a number of strategic moves designed to improve the enrollment functions at the university,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “We’ve launched new academic programs and developed new ways of marketing them, and are offering housing choices that make residence life more affordable. These efforts align with our strategic plan and our commitment to provide our students with a transformational educational experience and a campus culture that fosters excellence in all aspects of academic life.”

Some of the enrollment initiatives include expanding the university’s geographical marketing efforts and counselor coverage within key areas; restructuring its focus and allocation of human and budgetary resources in its marketing department; developing a highly targeted approach to communicating to prospective students through a blend of online channels; and reimagining its admissions events, which resulted in a double-digit percentage increase in campus visits.

Retention is also vital to the enrollment equation, with freshman-to-sophomore data being the most closely watched indicator. Niagara University’s freshman-to-sophomore retention of 87 percent is 4 percent higher last year. Its retention rate for transfer students is at 85 percent, and its six-year graduation rate has increased to 72.7 percent.

Students who live on campus are more likely to graduate in four years, so providing an engaging living-learning environment is not only crucial for enrollment, but for academic success, as well. To make this option accessible to a greater number of students, Niagara University has implemented new flexible pricing choices that enable students to select the housing features that fit both their lifestyle and budget. More than 1,200 students have chosen to live on campus this academic year, which is 50.2 percent of Niagara’s undergraduate enrollment and represents an increase of nearly three-percentage-points over last fall. Additionally, a gain of six percentage points was seen for returning students living on campus. Overall, housing is at 87 percent of full occupancy, a five-percentage-point increase over last year.