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Fall 2007 enrollment shows increase in student diversity

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Enrollment at Bethel College remained steady, increasing slightly to 541 students this fall as compared to 539 in fall 2006. This fall’s student body is more internationally mixed than has been true in several years.

In fact, Bethel ranks first for the state of Kansas in U.S. News & World Report’s annual college survey for 2008 in percentage of international students in the four-year liberal arts college category.

Vice President for Admissions Allan Bartel pointed out that, with 201 new students on campus, this is the first time in 10 years (since 1997) that Bethel has reported more than 200 total first-time freshmen and transfer students in the fall semester.

Of the new students on campus, 108 are first-time freshmen and 93 are transfer students. Eight first-time freshmen and 18 transfers are from countries outside the United States, including six from Kenya, four from Cameroon and three each from Mexico, Nepal and the United Kingdom. There are two students each from Nigeria and Tanzania, with one each from Denmark, Ethiopia and Nicaragua. There are also two students who came from Germany as part of Bethel’s historic exchange program with the Bergische Universität in Wuppertal.

This fall’s numbers represent a retention rate of 84 percent of the students who were on campus last spring, excluding those who graduated.

Seventy-seven first-year students come from Kansas, representing 39 different high schools across the state. Besides Kansas, the new students (including transfers) come from Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

“We are pleased to have strong retention and strong new student numbers,” said Bethel College President Barry C. Bartel. “This is the fourth year of sustained growth, reflecting consistent admissions and marketing strategies. In addition to a slight increase in overall enrollment, we experienced a shift to more full-time students – an increase of 17 over last year.”

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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