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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (June 11, 2013)—More than 100 attendees participated in the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU) annual meeting held at California Baptist University June 2-4. The organization elected new officers; approved a $268,170 budget for the association's 2013-14 fiscal year; and heard reports on the Baptist College and University Scholars program, and the state of IABCU member institutions.

Top administrators from IABCU schools came from as far as Nigeria and Japan for the three-day meeting. The group elected new officers for 2013-2014: Dr. David Olive, president of Bluefield College, as chair; Dr. Fitzgerald Hill, president of Arkansas Baptist College, as vice-chair and chair elect; and Dr. Samuel "Dub" Oliver, president of East Texas Baptist University, recording secretary.

New board members elected for terms beginning June 2013 to June 2017 are: Dr. Jairy Hunter, president of Charleston Southern University; Dr. Kina Mallard, provost at Carson-Newman University; Dr. Elizabeth Davis, provost at Baylor University; and David Wilkinson, executive director of Associated Baptist Press, who will serve as an at-large member.

An IABCU research study titled "The State of Higher Education Among Baptist Colleges and Universities 2013" revealed that enrollment at IABCU member institutions is up 21.3 percent from the fall 2000 to fall 2011. Also, tuition at those schools is still an average of 22 percent less nationally than other private, four-year, not-for-profit institutions, even as the total cost of attendance for students steadily increases at all institutions.

In addition, the majority of students enrolled at IABCU schools are within the traditional college age group, with more than 76 percent of undergraduates under the age of 25 and the same percentage of graduate students aged 25 or older.

The research also revealed that larger IABCU institutions report higher retention rates. For colleges and universities with 4,000 or fewer students, about 65 percent of first-time freshmen in 2010 enrolled again in the fall of 2011, while universities with larger enrollment saw higher retention rates—77 percent for institutions with 4,001-9,999 students and 85 percent for those with 10,000 or more students.

The study was conducted for IABCU by the Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment at California Baptist University.  It was based on data reported in the 2011 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the latest IPEDS data available when the analysis began last April.

Dr. Laine Scales, associate dean of the Baylor University Graduate School, announced that the Baptist College and University (BCU) Scholars program had six new scholars in 2012-2013, for a total of 13. Scales said she expected participation to grow to 20 in the next academic year. The program encourages scholars nominated by Baptist schools and accepted at Baylor for Ph.D. study to combine scholarly research skills with integration of faith and learning in the classroom.

The IABCU contributes up to $10,000 annually in support of BCU Scholars.

David Kinnaman, author and president of the Barna Group, delivered the annual Hester Lectures, warning his audience that colleges and universities must pay attention to changes in the younger generations of students who are less connected to institutional church.

"If we don't think differently about our institutions, we are going to lose them," Kinnaman said. "Something is happening here that we need to pay attention to. What is it God is telling us about our opportunity with this upcoming generation?"

Next year's meeting of the IABCU will be held at Charleston Southern University June 1-3.