FPU celebrates enrollment increase


Varvis credits work of people across the university

Fresno Pacific University press release

A coordinated university-wide effort to make it possible for students to attend Fresno Pacific University resulted in an 11 percent enrollment increase for the fall of 2009.

“People from all over campus—admissions, financial aid, the business office—came together to make this happen. Faculty really pitched in, as well, staying late to advise incoming students and help them select classes. They really proved they are committed mentors as well knowledgeable teachers,” says Stephen Varvis, vice president for enrollment management.

Overall enrollment rose to 2,649, up from 2,377 in both fall 2008 and 2007. There are 857 students in the traditional undergraduate programs, 943 in bachelor’s degree completion and 849 in master’s degree programs. These figures for 2008 were 860, 733 and 784, respectively. All numbers come from the official university census.

Traditional undergraduates

New student enrollment was 302 in fall of 2009, up from 260 in 2008. Some 92 percent of last spring’s students returned, driven by another increase in freshman retention to just over 78 percent. The freshman retention rate at comparable schools is 72 percent, Varvis says.

Headcount is down by three due to large recent graduating classes, but the equivalency rate of full-time students is up by five. “This means students are taking more classes,” Varvis says.

The admissions staff, however, is not resting on its laurels. “Admissions planned for 2010 while working full-speed for 2009. College fairs and travel began right after Labor Day,” Varvis says.

Bachelor’s degree completion

Already 208 new adult students have begun class at the FPU regional centers in North Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield, as well as programs at the College of the Sequoias and West Hills College Lemoore. This is 31 more than the same time in 2008, but good news is still coming in. Another group of 40 or more will begin soon, brining the total to 245-250, compared to 185 at this time last year. “We are 30-plus student over our goal,” Varvis says. “These numbers are well above the 12 percent growth rate set the board of trustees set as our objective.”

Graduate programs
The 849 students seeking master’s degrees represent an 8 percent increase over this time last year, the highest number in five years and the third straight year of growth. Included are the 13 students in the first class of the Global MBA program and increases in several other programs, such as teacher education, school psychology/counseling, leadership studies and the online M.A. degrees in kinesiology, curriculum and teaching and school library and information technology. 

The team approach made this fall’s success happen, Varvis says. “We responded to student needs, increased financial aid, instituted our four-year graduation guarantee and worked hard to make it possible for students to attend this fall,” he says. “And we’re doing the same for the spring semester.”


Fresno Pacific University offers undergraduate and graduate programs that stress solid academic preparation and a strong ethical foundation. This year about 2,600 traditional and adult students attend classes on the 42-acre main campus in southeast Fresno or centers in North Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield. The university also reaches 14,000 students across the nation and around the world through professional development studies programs. FPU has the highest four-year graduation rate of any Central Valley college or university and is the Valley’s only comprehensive Christian university granting master’s degrees. FPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and ranked among the best in the Western universities—master’s category by U.S. News & World Report.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here