Record enrollment and record development on campus continue to spearhead growth at Mary

BISMARCK, ND — 2017 is a record-setting year at the University of Mary in Bismarck on several fronts. Today, on the first day of classes, North Dakota’s only private, Catholic university welcomed the largest incoming class in its history to Bismarck.

Well over 600 new students are beginning their classes on the main campus, 13 percent more than last year. Those students are coming from across the nation and the world, with 36 states, two Canadian provinces, and seven countries represented in the recruitment class.

The University’s “Worldwide” programs—bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs designed for the working adult—continue to attract more students every year as well.

Increasing new student numbers for all program types, combined with terrific student success, have led to increasing overall enrollment. According to preliminary numbers, the overall enrollment at Mary currently stands at over 3,200 students, an increase of more than 5% in just one year.

Michael McMahon, vice president for Enrollment Management, attributes the growth increase to several reasons. “Our new incoming students and their parents tell us we are one of the most affordable private universities in the country, which is something we’ve known for some time. But it goes deeper than that. The education we offer at Mary is distinctive; we prepare students for their professional careers, but that is not all we prepare them for. We offer an education for the whole of life. Our faculty and curriculum they adhere to are some of the best in the world. The quality of our education, combined with our affordability, make for unparalleled value.”

Also, a draw for new incoming students and appealing to their parents is the new and innovative Year-Round Campus option that is a direct correlation to University of Mary’s affordability. It’s a revolutionary degree path making it even more affordable for students to obtain a high-quality, private education. Leaving the four-year degree option intact for those who want it, Year-Round Campus is one-of-a-kind option that enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2.6 years and master’s in four. By offering the same course load as a traditional program over eight consecutive semesters, including summer, Year-Round Campus reduces the cost and time for a university education and allows students to begin their careers much sooner and accrue much less debt.

“Year-Round Campus is a game changer in higher education,” added McMahon. “This program attracts students who are highly motivated, career-path oriented and often extremely smart. Yet Year-Round Campus is just one of the innovative ideas flourishing at Mary; there are so many exciting developments, it is hard to prioritize them when speaking to prospective students.”

McMahon attributes more factors to the enrollment increases. He says there is a lot of buzz and excitement with new and existing students surrounding new buildings on the campus, including the beautiful new 80,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Lumen Vitae University Center as a result of its current record-setting Vision 2030 Capital Campaign. The University of Mary will celebrate its grand opening Friday, September 8 at 4:30 p.m. at the LVUC’s north entrance. The public is encouraged to attend an open house the following day on Saturday, September 9, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to see and tour the new Lumen Vitae University Center, the Marian Grotto and the Gift Hill Memorial. Bring your appetite as free food will be served.

In this past year, also part of Phase 1 of the Vision 2030 Capital campaign, Mary opened its new Roers Residence Hall for women and the new Fieldhouse. In the last 15 months the University of Mary has created 200,000 square feet of new space on its campus. McMahon says, while many universities across the state and the country continue to downsize and shut down programs, Mary is adding space and programs.

McMahon says the University of Mary’s unique study-abroad programs are always popular with students and continue to grow in interest by the year as they often have waiting lists. Mary’s Rome campus and the new campus in Peru are just two of the many study-abroad programs students can take part in every year. Since Mary’s Rome campus opened in 2010 it has been a life-changing experience for hundreds of students.

The official exact total fall enrollment numbers won’t be known until October when they are reported to the federal government.