by Cindy Pena
Central Connecticut enrollment numbers continue to show an upwards trend. Spring 2018 saw a .2 percent increase in enrollment, a one percent increase in credit hours and a 1.2 percent increase in full-time enrollment—growths that CCSU President Dr. Zulma Toro takes much pride in.
“We were pleased to see the increase in enrollment, but not too surprised as we had similar success in our fall 2017 enrollment,” Dr. Toro said. “It is a very challenging environment for recruitment and enrollment, as our sister CSCU institutions illustrate. While Central’s total full-time equivalent enrollment rose 1.2 percent, Eastern [- 1.6 percent]; Southern [- 3.0 percent]; and Western [0.3 percent] did not fare as well.”
Dr. Toro also expressed her pride in these numbers in an email sent to all faculty.
“These trends are very encouraging, not only because they have been made against the declining number of college-age students, but also more importantly because they show that when the Central family works together as a team, we can be quite successful,” Dr. Toro stated.
Dr. Toro has made it a priority to increase enrollment to 15,000 students by the year 2023 to increase student diversity and meet fiscal needs. The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities budget, which CCSU is under, has been a target to meet state budgetary challenges. Since 2015, state appropriations to CSCU has been cut by 17.4 percent, according to CSCU President Mark Ojakian.
Dr. Toro is behind many of CCSU student engagement initiatives that she hopes will help her reach her goal and avoid the repercussions of budget cuts, such as: Admitted Students Day, Fall and Spring Open Houses and Undergraduate Admissions events.
Dr. Toro informed that there will be an Admitted Students Day on March 3, a Spring Open House for Graduate Studies on March 8 and an Undergraduate Admissions event on April 14.
“Increasing enrollment is important for us for a couple of reasons,” Dr. Toro said. “In part because of declining state support, we need an increased enrollment for our institution to maintain and enhance the academic excellence that we offer as one of the state’s premiere institutions of higher education. It is also important in helping the university successfully provide access to higher education to a more diverse student population.”
She credits the sprint 2018 enrollment success to CCSU offices, faculty and students that also prioritize this goal and help with these initiatives.
“We owe our success to the hard work of many people on campus, particularly those in Admissions and in the School of Graduate Studies, as well as those offices which support their initiatives,” Dr. Toro said. “I have always been pleased by the way our faculty have owned their role in our efforts.”
For the future, Dr. Toro said she hopes to continue this upwards trend and ultimately reach her goal.
“We of course hope to continue to increase our enrollments each semester on our way to our target goal of 15,000 [students],” Dr. Toro said. “Our successes so far, and my trust in the people who are most responsible for our recruiting efforts, give me confidence that we will succeed.”