Enrollment numbers show trend

Enrollment numbers show trend

Dwayne Mactavious

Enrollment numbers show trend

Nate Billings

Enrollment figures are in and the numbers are up.

Total enrollment for the year is up 4.1 percent in comparison to last year. The biggest change is to the freshman class with a 15.4 percent increase to the class size.

“Obviously, we are very pleased,” said University president Julio León. “It shows quite clearly that students see that a degree at a four-year university is quite necessary.”

The number of first-time-full-time freshman is up 20.5 percent overall.

This reflects the number of first-time students taking 12 or more hours.

The total enrollment for the semester is 5,473 students.

The enrollment figures were collected at the end of the fourth week of classes.

León said this was done in order to make sure students had settled into their classes and were the students situated for the year.

“There are all sorts of changes,” he said. “There’s also a lot of movement.”

Dr. Delores Honey, assistant vice president for assessment and institutional research, said the numbers are a positive thing for the University.

She said the increased numbers mean more revenue for the University despite a decrease in tuition by $2 per credit hour last spring.

Honey said the increase is the second in two years and believes the trend will continue.

“We’re a university and that changes the perception of potential students,” she said.

She also said the increased numbers will add to campus participation and fuller classes.

“It energizes both the students and administration when this happens,” Honey said.

León and Honey both said the freshman class will be important for future classes.

“We want to insure student success and will do everything possible,” León said. “The first year is critical.”

A sampling of the freshman class will occur to develop an insight into the class itself and to make sure the faculty is working with students.

“We’re very interested in retaining the rates,” Honey said. “There have been ongoing retention rates forever.”

She said the administration is working to insure students are doing well in school and know the faculty and staff are there for them.

“It’s the right thing to do to concentrate on the freshman class,” León said.

He said the numbers taken on every freshman class are tracked to develop graduation and retention rates years down the road. And, by having the faculty work more with the students, the retention rates should be higher.

“We want to make a greater awareness to the progress the students are making,” León said.

Honey agreed it was important to work with the students on a personal basis.

“Student success is the theme here,” she said. “After all, their success is our success.”

Honey said there were several reasons for the overall increase in student population including tuition cuts and lower housing costs. The scholarship budget was also increased despite budget cuts on a state level.

“It took a lot, but it was worth it,” she said.