Fall 2009 enrollment statistics released by Bethany College show a large, active freshman class.

Total student enrollment for the semester, representing the college’s highest count since 2003, is 592 students. First-time freshmen enrollment of 182 students, up from last year’s 178, is the college’s largest class since 1997. The college also has the most new students this decade, 249. There are 59 transfer students.

“I am pleased with our report as we continue to increase overall enrollment each year,” said Bethany College President Edward F. Leonard III. “Bethany will continue to move forward, or as they say in Swedish framåt, and we will continue to provide a quality education for all who attend.”

More than seventy percent of freshmen – 130 of 182 students – are participating in at least one performance area of music, art, theatre or athletics. Of these, 42 are participating in two or more performance areas.

“Bethany allows students to get involved and make a difference on campus benefiting our entire community. Bethany gains an active student body and students learn the life-long skill of successfully multitasking,” said Tricia Hawk, dean of marketing and recruitment. “We provide various opportunities and allow the students to choose their own paths.”

Bethany students also come from 32 states, with the highest populations coming from Kansas, Colorado, Texas and California. With 49% of the population coming from in-state, more than half of the student body comes from outside of Kansas. Bethany students represent a total of 22 countries. Every continent except for Antarctica is represented.

Overall, the student population is 50% male and 50% female and 23% U.S. ethnic minority. About 17% of students self-identify as Lutheran.