WAYNE, Neb. -- A school in northeast Nebraska is celebrating continued growth. But it's not just about bringing students in. It's about keeping them.

Wayne State College has reached its sixth consecutive year of enrollment growth.

President Marysz Rames says Wayne State College has utilized a strategic enrollment plan to increase enrollment over the last six years.

The plan included improving scholarship and financial aid packages, a comprehensive integrated marketing plan, transitional resources for students coming in from two-year degree programs, and adding new graduate education opportunities.

"We've just received a Title 3 grant that provides all new different kinds of opportunities for our students to get access or resources in support to help them be successful, an early alert system that identifies students that are struggling and providing them the resources that they need to be successful," Rames said.

With an increase in students, WSC has also worked on strategies for increased retention for their students with their current percentage being almost 74, according to Rames.

WSC Learning Center Director Janet Greder says that their holistic approach to advising freshmen has helped target young students' needs.

The learning center provides resources such as a Freshman Advising Center, a first-year experience course, and a campus-wide program that is designed to flag up early performance issues called Wildcat360.

"It allows us to reach out to faculty to make sure to find out how students are doing in their classes," Greder said. "When when we get that feedback, it allows us to reach out to students if they need some academic support, whether its through tutors or supplemental instruction."

Students on campus say that recruiting and retention go beyond the nuts and bolts of the college's system and plans.

Junior Janae Gubbels credits the in-person support from faculty, staff, and upperclassmen for creating a nurturing environment.

"The support that you get as students is really great," Gubbels said. "You've got tutors, you've got just people that are willing to help. Upperclassmen are actually really helpful too because they know the layout. They know what it's like to be on campus."

With the additional revenue generated from Wayne State College's growing enrollment, Rames says funds will go back into helping further improve students resources.

Rames says WSC will continue to push for increased enrollment and retention in its next strategic plan, which runs from 2022 through 2028.