The Free Press

MANKATO — Bethany Lutheran College’s fall numbers have set an all-time high.

The record number of full-time enrollments stands at 633 students, which includes 10 high school students in the post-secondary enrollment options program.

“We’re pleased that Bethany’s overall enrollment remains on a growth pattern that began several years ago and continues this fall. While the first-year class was down slightly, it was not unexpected during the pandemic,” President Gene Pfeifer said in a statement.

In addition to traditional on-campus programs, 133 high school students are taking courses through dual credit and PSEO programs. The programs allow qualified students to earn high school and college course credit simultaneously.

Bethany also has focused recruitment efforts on increasing international student enrollment, which this fall includes 92 students from 26 countries.

The total number of students enrolled at Bethany, which includes part-time students, is a record 772, college officials said.

Bethany’s retention of first-year and upper-class students has moved forward consistently for the past several years, the college said in a news release. The retention rate for the class of 2023 (the fall 2019 first-year class) is 87%. Retention for upper-division classes also was historically strong at the four-year Christian college.

“Bethany’s mission is deliberately focused on personal mentoring directed by Christian values. This philosophy guides the college to meet students’ needs both while they are on campus and as alumni. We believe this student-first emphasis, combined with a small, safe campus atmosphere are key factors in today’s strong retention numbers and enrollment growth at Bethany,” Pfeifer said.