Cabrini experiences unprecedented rise in enrollment

By Jaclyn Labes
November 2, 2016


While many colleges and universities have seen a decline in enrollment over the past few years, Cabrini University has shown a significant increase in undergraduate students and a moderate increase in graduate students.

“We are going through a different time right now in education,” Stephanie Gibbs, director of graduate admissions, said. “Education has declined 12 percent in Pennsylvania.”

According to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, enrollment in the 14 state universities in Pennsylvania has dropped once again this fall, just as it has been since 2010.

Contrary to that, the total of full-time freshman that enrolled at Cabrini this fall is the highest it has ever been. In addition, the university surpassed fall 2015 in the number of transfer readmits.

“In the fall of 2016, we had 481 full-time freshman and 66 transfer students,” Shannon Zottola, director of undergraduate admissions, said.

One of the factors that contributed to the rise in undergraduate students is “the leadership here at the institution and our expansion of recruitment travels,” Zottola said.

“I think we have more than doubled our recruitment travel since the start of all of this three years ago,” Zottola said.

In addition to the increase, the university has had a 40 to 45 percent diverse population over incoming class for fall 2016 and has increased Hispanic recruitment by 88 percent over the year before.

Other factors contributing to the rise in undergraduate students is the increase in college fairs, more high school visits and other events that allow Cabrini to stand out and be visible. Graduate students have been increasing partially due to the new program offerings that the university introduced this fall 2016.

“We exceeded the budget goal for on-campus graduate students,” Gibbs said. “Our on-campus budget goal was about 1300 for fall 2016. We exceeded that and approximately had about 1650 credit hours.”

The two new doctoral programs that have been introduced include the EdD in Educational Leadership and the PhD or DBA in Organizational Development.

“I think the name change from a college to a university will attract a larger pool of students,” Gibbs said. “They will look at Cabrini a little bit closer because it seems more competitive with our competitors in this area, especially with Eastern University being right next door. I think the name change puts us on a different scale especially with our PhD program and EdD program that we have added to the portfolio.”

“The restructuring of the schools system here at Cabrini with the four different schools should help because it gives another touch point with the deans and the assistant deans that I think families will resonate with,” Gibbs said.

At a time when education is declining but Cabrini is seeing increase across various sectors, both the undergraduate admissions office and graduate admissions offices are seeking to bring in more students by implementing the programs that they want.

“The name change to a university is important; however, we have to make sure that we get programs that students need in this particular area too,” Gibbs said. “Fortunately for us what is new is our psychology program that is coming up in the fall of 2017 as well as our crime and justice program. I think those two majors will increase the number of students were seeing as well.”

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Jaclyn Labes

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