Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Neb., will officially become Midland University on Oct. 20 amid record enrollment for its 2010-2011 academic year.
After more than 300 students transferred to the school as the result of the closure of nearby Dana College, Midland's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change Midland's name.
And even when excluding former Dana students, Midland said it had a nearly 90 percent growth rate of transfer students – a development school officials say is a result of new donor scholarship support.
"We are pleased that the transfer initiatives our donors helped make available this spring and summer far surpassed our expectations," said Midland President Dr. Ben Sasse at a news conference last week at Midland's Event Center.
"We were very encouraged to learn how many students wanted to be a part of a close community where they could take part in a broad variety of activities outside of the classroom,” he added. “The school year just started, but our transfer students are already jumping right in and getting involved."
According to Midland’s communications department, the school’s freshman class is the largest in four years with 231 students.
In total, the school has 962 students enrolled for the institution's 2010-2011 academic year.
Midland's surge in enrollment comes after the Board of Regents at Dana College in Blair, Neb., decided to commence the closing of the school after their request for change of control was denied by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region.
The college had sought to turn over control from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to the for-profit Dana Education Corporation (DEC) in an effort to “resolve long-standing financial resource issues.”
Dana, like Midland, was an ELCA institution until it ended its affiliation with the church body
With Dana's closure, ELCA is left with 26 colleges and universities, one of which is Midland.
The Rev. Mark N. Wilhelm, associate executive director for educational partnerships at ELCA Vocation and Education, reported that Midland will continue its relationship with the ELCA.