La Sierra University’s enrollment breaks record for second year

October 12, 2011

By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( La Sierra University’s enrollment jumped to its highest level in the school’s history this fall, surging past last year’s record student count. The university on Oct. 7 announced an official enrollment of 2,199 students, nearly a five percent increase over last year’s registration total.

The head count includes undergraduate and graduate students and incorporates a record freshman class enrollment of 448. Much of the university’s growth occurred in La Sierra’s College of Arts and Sciences which experienced a 7.82 percent surge, or 117 students over last year’s fall registration. The university’s new criminal justice program, which falls under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences, attracted 40 new freshmen and 17 transfer students with 24 students returning for a total pool of 81.

Undergraduates totaled 1,897 this fall and graduate students totaled 302 with the majority of graduate enrollees housed in the schools of business and education. This school year’s student count is the largest since the university’s inception in 1990 following its separation from sister school Loma Linda University, and its new freshmen class is also the largest in its history as an independent institution. The university posted historic enrollment highs last fall with 2,098 students on board.

“We are thrilled with the news that our university’s student body has again increased,” said University President Randal Wisbey. “We thank God for continuing to bless La Sierra University and its efforts to serve others, and for the opportunity to help so many young people achieve their goals and positively impact society.”

La Sierra’s rapid acceleration the past two years is attributable to a variety of factors including increased spending to keep in contact with students and overcrowding in California public institutions resulting in transfers to La Sierra, said David Lofthouse, vice president for enrollment services. “This year’s growth had some predictability,” he said. “We examined the numbers very carefully and applied formulas to what was happening last year. We started to get a picture of where things might line up. You can have some idea as you go through the current year.”

“We had a healthy growth in freshmen,” Lofthouse continued. “We like to grow at a rate where we can handle the incoming students and still provide good services. Also a big incoming class improves retention and that translates into growth. The retention element is so important.”

On Sept. 29, university Provost Steve Pawluk announced the school’s record enrollment during La Sierra’s annual convocation at La Sierra University Church. “You have helped us set one more enrollment record in the history of this university,” he said. The students, packed into pews and streaming out the doors, cheered.

Economic player

The effect of the university’s growth extends beyond its campus. According to a report from La Sierra University Financial Administration, the institution in 2010 had an economic impact of $49.5 million on the local economy through pay and benefits of $26 million. The institution employs 1,400 people annually including students and adjunct professors, and its ongoing land development project over the past 10 years cost $740 million resulting in 19,689 jobs. Land development in the Riverwalk Parkway area includes single-family homes, a retail plaza and hotel and a senior apartments complex.

Additionally, during 2010-2011, the university purchased $3.1 million in goods and services from 150 local vendors and over the last 10 years created 2,324 jobs through construction and renovation projects that totaled $84.3 million.


PR Contact: Larry Becker

Executive Director of University Relations

La Sierra University

Riverside, California

951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  October 13, 2011