Iowa Wesleyan Uses Personal Touch to Attract Minority Students
MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa
Iowa Wesleyan College, a private institution in the southeastern part of the state, has attracted a record number of minority students. Despite the college’s location in a small, predominantly White community, nearly 21 percent of the school’s 482 full-time students are minorities this year.
“We call the students and spend time talking with them about why we think this would be a neat little place to go,” says Terry Lindsay, associate vice president and dean of student life. “We make the admissions process very personal. We don’t just bombard students, like so many others do, by way of mailing literature.”
Minority enrollment had ranged from 12 percent to 14 percent each of the past three years, officials say.
Iowa’s minority population remains at about 4 percent. The state board of regents set a goal of 8.5 percent minority enrollment at each of the state’s public universities more than 10 years ago, but only the University of Iowa has met that goal.
Freshmen and transfer students have helped increase the overall percentage of minority students at Iowa Wesleyan. Of the 200 full-time students new to campus this year, 34 percent are minorities.
Since Dr. James Halseth became president last year, the college has made efforts to recruit students who would be the first in their families to attend college. Many of the first-generation students have been Black or Hispanic.
Iowa Wesleyan also has turned to religious and community groups, and minority leaders to find first-generation college students. The college also is spending less money on mass mailings, focusing instead on making direct contact with a smaller number of students.
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