University Reports Record Number of First-Year International Students
September 17, 2021
Written by Public Relations & Communications Strategist Jill Wilson
The university is excited to announce that a total of 2,022 students — including part- and full-time undergraduate and graduate students — have chosen to embark on a bold future at Augustana. The number marks the fourth largest student body in the last three decades at Augustana, and includes 466 first-year students — the third-largest freshman class reported in the previous 30 years at the university.
A portion of AU’s success in attracting students can be attributed to its strategic plan Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030 — with the addition of the Viking Marching Band, a new athletics team and three new graduate academic programs, as well as eight new majors and minors within the last five years. Biology, business administration, nursing, psychology and exercise science round out the top five declared majors by undergraduate students in Fall 2021.
“We are excited about sharing the exciting opportunities Augustana has to offer with these students from right next door and across the globe. Our faculty are committed to programs, both new and continuing, that provide students an education of enduring worth,” said Registrar and Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary Programs Joni Krueger.
Of the 1,715 undergraduates at Augustana, students hail from 34 states, a record-number 48 countries, as well as from the Armed Forces-Europe. Augustana broke another record in Academic Year 2021-22 as it welcomed 42 first-year international students to campus. The previous record was 38, which took place in both 2016 and 2018. Of Augustana’s 135 total international students reported in the fall of 2021, a majority have come to Augustana from Ethiopia, China, Nepal, Germany, Norway, Brazil, Nigeria, Vietnam and India.
“To get back to pre-pandemic international student enrollment levels so quickly, to me, is incredible,” said Director of International Programs and Enrollment Ben Iverson ‘04. “In some ways, I think virtual college fairs leveled the playing field for schools like Augustana since we’re not able to travel (under normal circumstances) to as many places as our larger competition. We do pretty well by comparison when we can actually get in front of students. Also, I think the International Admission Team, Wade Gemar (assistant director of international admissions) and Sul Dibba (admission counselor), did an incredible job at developing relationships with prospective students amid challenging circumstances during the pandemic. The biggest reason for our success is their hard work.”
Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Augustana is proud to report that the university’s retention rate from first- to second-year students is 83.4%. First implemented in August of 2020, Augustana has been guided by its Viking Flex Plan throughout the global health crisis. Viking Flex 2021 provides for flexibility, ongoing analysis and is subject to adjustments due to the dynamic nature of the pandemic and in order to keep its campus community safe.