Graduate School Growth
Perhaps the value of a graduate degree is still being defined. The American Enterprise Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research institute, asserts as part of a January 2018 study, “Although the idea that the master’s degree is the new bachelor’s degree has been around for several years, most discussions around the value of postsecondary education still focus on the bachelor’s degree. (Yet,) the master’s degree has been the fastest-growing degree over the past two decades” (1).
The growth trend for graduate programs has been evident at HBU as well. The HBU Graduate Program reached a record 1,000 students during the 2017-2018 school year. For 2018, the number of graduate applications increased by five percent, and the number of enrolled students increased by almost nine percent.
Dr. Jeff Green, dean of the HBU Graduate School, said, “I think the need for more education to be successful in the workplace is a factor. People are looking for an extra level of specification, or even a certification.” In addition to traditional programs, the HBU Graduate School offers 20 certificates and licensures in areas including counseling, education and apologetics. Students may complete graduate-level certificates as part of a graduate degree program or as a stand-alone pursuit. “The most important thing is the actual knowledge you get from the classes,” Green said. “You can offer more value to employers, your family, church and community.”
HBU is especially appealing to many students because of the small class sizes, and the high-care admissions process. Applicants are assigned a graduate school coordinator to help with the admissions process, and scholarships are available at the graduate level. “The admissions coordinators wear a lot of hats,” Allyson Cates, director of Graduate Admissions, said. “In the office, via email or phone, they build relationships with their applicants, while walking them through the admissions application process. They answer financial aid questions, counsel, facilitate faculty and staff introductions, and help them register for classes. They connect personally with students, inviting them to various events, and keeping them in touch with what’s going on at HBU.”
The hands-on application and admissions approach extends not only to residential students, but to HBU Online students as well. In fact, HBU recently combined the admissions and recruiting efforts of the Pampell Online Division with the Graduate Admissions Office.
“A student can take courses on our main campus in Houston or participate in our online courses that are offered everywhere,” Dr. Steve Peterson, vice president for HBU Online/Digital Learning, said. “In fact, many students choose a combination of online and residential learning. It is really providing education for each student’s situation.”