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Mont Alto campus enrollment up 13 percent

October 10, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

MONT ALTO, Pa. - Total enrollment at Penn State Mont Alto increased 13 percent for the 2006-07 school year thanks to a 105 percent increase in new students from out of the area, campus officials said Monday.

The increase came at the same time as enrollment increases for the entire Penn State University system. Holly Cieri, public relations manager for Penn State Mont Alto, said about 94,000 students applied to Penn State University for the fall of 2006, more than any university in the country.

In recent years, Penn State Mont Alto had seen a dip in enrollment, Director of Enrollment Management Barbara Seyter said. Averaging about 1,100 students over the last 10 years, she said what makes the 1,094 students enrolled for the 2006-07 year unique is their diversity.

"The big change for Mont Alto is its composition, we had a heavy increase in out-of-area students and ethnic minorities," she said.

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Seyter said Penn State Mont Alto took steps to actively recruit students from outside its local service area of Franklin, Adams, and lower Fulton and Cumberland counties through college fairs and increased marketing. The school recruited students from Maryland, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Virginia, Vermont and New York.

This year, 37 percent of Penn State Mont Alto students are from outside the local counties and 19 percent are from traditionally underrepresented ethnic minorities.

David Gnage, campus chancellor, explained that Penn State Mont Alto chose to recruit students outside of its service area, based on interest.

"We are actively recruiting in other areas because there are students in those markets who will come to Mont Alto to get a Penn State degree," he said.

Most of Penn State Mont Alto's new students are from the Washington, D.C., area, which Gnage says is in part because the District will pay the difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition for students who chose to attend a university outside the District of Columbia.

"Washington, D.C., does not have a state university, so D.C. residents can get in-state tuition at Mont Alto," he said.

The increase in enrollment has pushed university housing to its limits, according to a school news release. Cieri said 451 students reside in university housing, up from 440 last spring. The university was able to accommodate more students this year, Cieri said, by forcing resident assistants (RAs) who usually room alone, to double up.

While Penn State Mont Alto is at capacity for on-campus housing, Gnage said at this point, more housing facilities are not in the 10-year plan, saying, "It looks like Penn State has housing facilities."

The 10-year plan does include more classrooms, learning labs, a student union, a library expansion, and new two-year and four-year degree programs, he said.

Seyter emphasized that enrollment fluctuates, but Gnage is positive about the university's future.

"I expect our enrollment to continue to increase," he said.

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