Bethany College enrollment has surpassed a total of 600 for the first time since 2003.

With 163 first time freshmen and 57 transfer students, the total student enrollment for the semester is 610, a three percent increase from last fall’s 592 students and a 14 percent increase over the last three years. The college also has the most new students this decade, 250, including eight new international students on campus as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia and Central Asia (Global UGRAD). In addition to their academic studies, Global UGRAD fellows perform community service, explore American traditions through the unique Cultural Passport to America program and hold one-semester internships.

“I am happy to report that overall enrollment has grown consistently over the past three years,” said Bethany College President Edward F. Leonard III. “Bethany will continue to grow and succeed as we offer stronger opportunities and experiences for students.”

The largest boost in overall enrollment is directly related to retention efforts. Surpassing set goals for fall enrollment, Bethany welcomed back 360 returning students. This is a nearly eight percent increase over last fall’s 333 returning students.

“The entire community of Bethany continues to work together to provide the best overall experience for students. As a result, students are responding and becoming more engaged than ever before,” said Tricia Hawk, dean of marketing and recruitment. “We are excited to begin another year with such success and will continue to support our students as they walk their paths at Bethany.”

Bethany students represent 30 states with more than 53 percent of the population coming from Kansas. The other highest populations originate from Colorado, Texas and California. Bethany students also come from a total of 15 countries.

Overall, the student population is 50.5 percent male and 22 percent U.S. ethnic minority. About 20 percent of students self-identify as Lutheran.