Transfers to Mercyhurst from the North East campus are declining due to a lack of programs focused on health care.
With health careers taking over, many students are deciding not to transfer to the Mercyhurst Main Campus because their preferred major is not being offered, officials said.
“Our enrollment over the last couple of years has been on the allied health and nursing areas. It has been heavier on the occupational associate degrees and less in the liberal arts or business and criminal justice graduates,” said Travis Lindahl, Mercyhurst North East’s Associate Vice President of Enrollment. “Over the last five years, on average, our health-related population is about 55 percent of our student population, including students enrolled as liberal arts-science known unofficially as pre-health.
“The numbers are skewed as we have added and subtracted programs over the last few years,” he said.
North East has created completion programs for students who decide not to transfer to the Erie Campus. In 2009, a bachelor in Health Nursing program was created for anyone who decides to finish their nursing degree at North East. Just last year, a bachelor in Health Care Science was created so that students who graduated in any of the allied health programs could come back and get their bachelors.
These programs were created because of the high number of North East alumni coming out of the allied health programs.
The degrees are also there for any students that decide to come back and get their bachelors. These classes are aligned to fit the schedule of students who are also taking classes in the Erie campus.
“We know that any of those programs line up with the ones offered in the Erie campus, so students could do so in evenings and weekends here at North East,” Lindahl said.
Regardless of the trend, each year graduating classes are different. If it is mostly nurses and allied health professionals that are graduating, they would not go to the main campus, because they do not offer those careers. If in a given year, more students graduate from North East with a liberal arts degree, the chances of them coming to Mercyhurst are far greater.
Above is a chart of the last four years of internal transfers. A larger enrollment in 2010, led to a larger IT number.
In any given year, North East anticipates 50 to 75 students, but it fluctuates over time.
North East is a career driven school; a lot of students leave the school to get jobs and many have no intention of getting their bachelor’s degrees. According to Lindahl, two-thirds of students would be defined as lower socio-economic, so many do not look forward to paying the tuition at the Erie main campus.
That is just one of the many reasons a student might not go to the Erie campus. They might also not go there because they want to move somewhere closer to their homes.
They may want to keep playing sports and they cannot play Division II in Mercyhurst or there is not room for them on the team.
Lindahl says health degrees have always been popular and they willl continue to be. Even students from the Erie campus have reached out to these health programs.
“Each year we get a number of students who transfer from Erie campus to North East to do some of the health care careers or even graduate with their bachelor’s degrees from Erie and come back to do one of our health care associates degree, because it leads to a better defined and better paying career,” Lindahl said.