Indiana State University officials say one of the most appealing things about the university is its size, and it continues to attract students from Northwest Indiana.
University officials said the school is small enough for students to feel comfortable with one another and get to know their professors, yet it's large enough to offer an array of degrees and extracurricular activities. In 2012, of the 12,114 students at the Terre Haute campus, 259 were from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
That's up from 2008 when there were a total of 134 students from the region at ISU.
University President Daniel Bradley, on a recent visit to the region, said 5 percent of the university's student body are international students from 60 different countries.
Though ISU's student population is smaller than Indiana University Bloomington or Purdue University in West Lafayette, Bradley said ISU sells students a "quality education." He said there are numerous degree programs, and its health-related professional programs are growing at a phenomenal rate. Bradley also said athletic training, social work, physician's assistants and engineering technology are also growing programs.
Bradley, who became the 11th president July 31, 2008, said ISU remains the lowest cost of the state's four public universities. It costs about $19,000 a year, including room and board, books and tuition, to earn an ISU degree.
While those students who have earned dual credit or Advanced Placement credit in high school are well prepared to enter college and will do well, Bradley said there are still students who are only marginally prepared.
"But that's not the biggest problem," Bradley said. "The biggest problem is the problems students have transitioning from the high school environment to a university environment. It means a change from a controlled environment to one that is not so controlled."
Bradley said ISU officials also are seeing a new phenomenon in that parents are more involved in their children's education, which has presented some issues with student privacy. Bradley said university officials now regularly ask freshmen to sign authorizations allowing university officials to talk to their parents about the student and their coursework.
"This is a big shift with parent involvement," he said. "We hope to harness that energy to create more graduates."
Bradley agrees with other local university leaders who have said it is taking students longer than four years to graduate.
Last year ISU created the Sycamore Graduation Guarantee program. Students are required to sign a pledge where they promise to take 30 to 32 credit hours a year, meet with advisers and declare a major. Bradley said university officials also are required to customize a schedule for freshmen to let them know where they are and what they need to earn their degree.
Bradley said construction around campus includes a joint facility to house the Barnes & Noble bookstore and offices for the Indiana State University Foundation and Alumni Association and the renovation of the former federal building to create a new home for the Scott College of Business. Both of those facilities are located in the downtown business district. A new welcome center, named after the university’s ninth president, John W. Moore, opened this fall.
Efforts to improve student housing continue with Erickson Hall under renovation, and two new student housing projects -- one in downtown Terre Haute -- to begin construction later this year.