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Asbury and Other Evangelical Colleges Report Record Numbers of New Students Enrolling

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Evangelical colleges and universities across the country are reporting a record number of new students have registered for classes this fall. 

One of those is Asbury University, a small private Christian institution, located in Wilmore, Kentucky. The university's fall enrollment of incoming freshmen is the largest the university has ever had, totaling roughly 300 more students than the 1,639 students enrolled last fall, an increase of almost 20%, according to Inside Higher Ed.  

The outlet also reported school officials noted this semester was the largest year-over-year increase in new students since the university was founded in 1890. 

As CBN News has reported, the school gained national prominence earlier this year for an on-campus revival that lasted almost two and a half weeks. During that time, an estimated 50,000-70,000 visitors descended on the town of Wilmore, Kentucky, population 6,000. 

slider img 2Meanwhile, in Texas, there's also a record number of new students attending classes at Texas private Christian universities. 

Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas reported it has a record enrollment of 1,021 new freshmen from across Texas, the U.S., and around the world. This year marks the university's sixth consecutive year of record enrollment, the school said. 

A little more than 331 miles to the east in Marshall, East Texas Baptist University is also celebrating the highest number of new students ever enrolled in the university's 110-year history with 1,771 total students. 

"As we prayed for our enrollment for Fall 2022, we worked earnestly to bring the students called by the Lord to study here on the Hill," ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said in a press release. "Throughout the pandemic, we prayed for God's provision for physical, financial, and spiritual health, and God was gracious to us."

Earlier this month, Cedarville University located in Cedarville, Ohio announced it too was praising God for a record total enrollment for the 15th consecutive year. Driving the university's growth was an increase in its dual enrollment program with 744 new students taking classes this fall for a total of 1,089 total dual-enrolled high school students. 

Cedarville, which is a private Baptist university, also welcomed the second-largest freshman class in its history with 1,017 students.

To the west, in Upland, Indiana, Taylor University – one of the oldest evangelical Christian universities in the U.S. – welcomed the largest incoming freshman class in school history with the arrival of 565 freshmen and 41 transfer students.  

In addition to celebrating its 75th year as an institution of higher learning, Grace College located in Winona Lake, also saw 465 new students, the second-largest undergraduate class in school history. 

Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa told radio station KIWA that its incoming freshman class was a record high of 498 students. Dordt is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

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In Nashville, Tennessee, Lipscomb University, which is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, reported it had more than 700 new freshmen – also the largest class of freshmen in its history. 

Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, also announced it was celebrating its 130th anniversary with the largest student enrollment in school history with 5,861 students, a growth of 218 students since last year.  

In Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Ouachita Baptist University reports its highest enrollment in 57 years with a 14% growth in undergraduate enrollment of 469 students.  This moves the school's total undergraduate enrollment to 1,581. 

Out west, Arizona Christian University in Glendale, Arizona also announced it has surpassed more than 1,200 students, including almost 400 first-time freshmen. 

"As one of the few higher education institutions in the nation that is conservative and committed to biblical truth, we are finding more and more students and families are looking for what we are offering," ACU President Len Munsil said in a press release. "For Christians who are tired of paying tuition to institutions where their faith is ridiculed, mocked, and canceled, ACU is becoming an increasingly popular alternative."

Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia reports its largest Honors Class ever. A total of 104 new students were inducted into the Honors College alone for the incoming Class of 2023. Honors College students are full-time, on-campus undergraduates from all majors across the university.

"A Place to Grow" 

According to Christianity Today, the university and college administrators they spoke to say the small, private, Christian schools are what many prospective students are looking for – discipleship, relationships, and a place to grow. 

Jennifer McChord, Asbury's vice president of enrollment and marketing told the outlet, "When they see a place where they can have these meaningful, authentic connections where they are seen and known, it stands out. Because that's what they're craving."

In addition to partnering with Christian high schools, these colleges and universities have also been getting their message out through social media. 

"A lot of ads. A lot of videos. A lot of value content," McChord told Christianity Today. "We use the digital platforms to drive a student to engage with a counselor and drive them to visit, where they can see."

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of