A handful of schools in the University of Arkansas system report surge in fall enrollment
Most schools in the University of Arkansas system reported modest declines or flat enrollment this fall compared to the same time last year, although a handful saw enrollment increases.
At a time when college enrollment is declining nationally and across the state, the fact that a handful of UA system institutions increased enrollment, while several others were essentially flat, “is remarkable. “, said Donald Bobbitt, president of the UA system.
Nearly 1.3 million students have disappeared from US colleges during the coronavirus pandemic, and undergraduate student attendance has dropped nearly 10%.
About one in four people in Arkansas age 25 or older have at least a bachelor’s degree, placing Arkansas in the bottom five states in this category, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nationally, the percentage of people aged 25 and over who have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher is around 38%.
Student enrollment and credit hours are crucial to colleges and universities, in part because of the revenue they derive from tuition and compulsory fees, as well as on-campus food and housing services.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock reported an enrollment drop of nearly 3% from a year ago, although the number of freshmen, transfer and graduate students all increased in a significative way.
Total UALR enrollment is 8,103, down 2.7% from the same time last year, according to preliminary figures released by the university on September 7. However, this figure exceeded the university’s enrollment projection by 3%.
The number of freshmen increased by “an unprecedented 29%”, while transfer students increased by 8% and graduate students by 5%, according to Angie Faller, director of news, communications and marketing at the PSUs. More students are also living on campus, with “housing occupancy increasing by more than 11% over last year”.
UALR “is experiencing its largest percentage increase in freshman and transfer student numbers in more than a decade,” Cody Decker, vice chancellor for student affairs and chief data officer, said in a statement. statement from the university. For these incoming freshmen, the average high school GPA is 3.3 and the average ACT score is 22.4.
The increase in the number of graduate students “follows a 45% increase in graduate applications and [a] 31% increase in admissions,” according to Faller. The Department of Information Studies saw the largest increase, with an 86% increase, while enrollment also increased in graduate programs in History, Computer Science, Art and Design, and Biology.
“Higher education continues to be a priority for many undergraduate students because of the value that an advanced degree brings,” said Brian Berry, Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the doctoral school, in a press release from the university.
“This is especially true in the areas of cybersecurity, information science and information quality, as evidenced by their significant growth this year,” Berry said. “Growth in these areas is essential to developing the workforce needed to meet the demands of our growing knowledge-based economy here in Arkansas and throughout the region.”
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Total fall enrollment at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was down 7% from last fall, from 2,670 to 2,482.
“We are analyzing the data to determine where and why most of the decline has occurred,” according to Mary Hester-Clifton, director of communications, institutional advancement. “There is no single reason for the decrease, [but] it appears the pandemic and economic conditions are affecting our listing.”
However, graduate enrollment is up 17% from last year and the university has a six-year graduation rate of over 40% for the second straight year, she added. “As we continue to focus on increasing enrollment, we are thrilled that a higher percentage of our continuing education students are graduating.”
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
UA-Fayetteville passed the 30,000 registration mark for the first time this fall and set an enrollment record at 30,936, up 8.3% from last year, said Suzanne McCray, vice – rector of registrations and dean of admissions. Enrollment has roughly doubled over the past quarter century and “we have added 10,000 students since 2009”.
The university has received more than 26,000 applications for this fall; four years ago, the university received fewer than 20,000 applications, McCray said. The university received 1,300 more applications for fall 2023 than at the same time last year because “we have become a destination university”.
The cumulative high school GPA of the 7,099 college freshmen seeking degrees this fall also set a new high at 3.77, she said. “We believe this will improve our retention and graduation rates, [because] these students are better prepared for college.”
The Sam F. Walton School of Business has led the way in rising enrollment, as it grew by 600 students — a far bigger increase than any other school — this year to 2,417 students, she said. declared. UA-Fayetteville’s freshman class includes 2,835 Arkansans, along with 2,555 Texans, 578 Missourians, and 303 Kansans, because “we are the number one university” for Kansans and Missourians outside of their respective states.
Texas is a critical state for recruitment as its population continues to grow rapidly, while many other states, including Arkansas, will experience a noticeable drop in the number of potential students over the next decade due to the decline in the country’s birth rate, said Acting Chancellor Charles Robinson. International students, in general, are crucial to the university because they pay out-of-state tuition, “which allows us to keep costs low for Arkansans.”
“Some out-of-state students pay higher tuition than others based on whether or not they qualify for the New Arkansan Non-Resident Tuition Award” – which offers scholarships based on academic merit, such as GPA – “but even those who meet the requirements still pay out-of-state tuition at a higher rate than any Arkansan,” according to Mark Rushing, associate vice chancellor, academic relations.
With 2,835 students across the state in that freshman class, the university saw an 8% increase in Arkansans this year, McCray said. In college, 90% of scholarships go to Arkansans, and 97% of Arkansans who apply for scholarships receive at least one.
The university intends to continue recruiting from across the state, she said. The RazorBug continues to circle the state; high school counselors will soon be able to recommend students to college who might otherwise be overlooked, and the free application day will be extended.
“Free application days are very popular, and some students rely on them,” she said. “We want to make sure that no student who wishes to apply is ‘prevented from doing so by lack of resources.
University of Arkansas at Monticello
Enrollment increased at the University of Arkansas, Monticello from 2,673 last fall to 2,717 this year, and transfer student enrollment increased 27% from the fall 2021 semester , increasing from 131 to 166 students, depending on the university. Additionally, graduate student enrollment hit an all-time high, rising 10% from 409 to 451 students, according to the university. Further growth in graduate students is expected in the near future with a master’s degree in nursing with a specialization in public health, which will begin in January and is currently accepting applications.
“The increase in total enrollment across UAM’s three campuses highlights the success of our outreach efforts and confirms what we proudly know about our university: UAM is an institution of higher learning model, offering a comprehensive and affordable education, from technical certificates to graduate degrees.” Chancellor Peggy Doss said in a statement. “While our numbers are not up in all areas of enrollment, we are excited to see continued growth in the upcoming academic year, driven by new program offerings and new partnerships.”
Phillips Community College at the University of Arkansas
Phillips Community College at the University of Arkansas reported a 1.5% increase in student numbers this fall, adding 10 students to last fall’s 663 enrollment.
Targeted recruiting for technical programs, such as CDL/truck driving, construction, HVAC, cosmetology, medical laboratory technology, and phlebotomy, all saw enrollment increases for the fall semester, and the college also improved its social media presence/marketing, especially throughout the enrollment period, according to a school press release. “Through the use of Google’s analytics research, we are able to assess our marketing and monitor our performance through data reports which revealed that our website experienced a significant increase in traffic.”
A new comprehensive behavioral health scholarship offered through the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership also helped with enrollment, according to the college. Another incentive is the college’s free transportation service, which is available each semester to students in the Helena-West Helena area who live within walking distance of campus.
UA Grantham and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
According to Nate Hinkel, director of communications for UA Grantham and for the UA system. The most recent term for the reports is the July/August start dates, which included 4,427 students, up nearly 200 from the same period last year.
The total number of falls for UAMS is 3,240, compared to 3,088 last fall.
Others stable or down
Enrollment at University Arkansas Community College in Hope-Texarkana is essentially flat, as enrollment this fall is 1,188, down just three from last fall.
The University of Arkansas Community College in Morrilton reported a slight drop in Day 11 enrollment this year, from 1,962 in 2021 to 1,901.
The University of Arkansas Community College in Batesville is also down slightly, from a total number of employees in fall 2021 of 1,113 to 1,096 this year.
Cossatot Community College at the University of Arkansas is also down slightly this year, by about 80 students, from 1,361 last fall to 1,280 this year.
Enrollment fell to 690 at the University of Arkansas, Rich Mountain, from 718 last fall.
The University of Arkansas, Fort Smith reported a 1.6% drop in fall enrollment from 5,447 last fall to 5,360 this year.
The total number of falls fell at the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College for the third straight year, falling to 4,223 this fall. Enrollment was 5,531 in 2019; 4,833 in 2020 and 4,425 in 2021.
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