University Reports Fall Semester Enrollment Increase
JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s 2015 fall semester enrollment is up two percent to 13,410, university Chancellor Tim Hudson announced today.
Across the board increases in several student groups and a new record for retention of first-year students led to the growth. The 11th-day head count enrollment of 13,410 breaks a trend of downward enrollment and brings with it another highly talented class of first-year students.
Hudson challenged the enrollment management task force after last year’s 13,144 marked the second year of decline. Co-chaired by Provost Lynita Cooksey and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rick Stripling, the committee’s work contributed to this fall’s gain in overall enrollment.
“The combined effort of our faculty and staff resulted in today’s enrollment numbers,” Hudson said. “They worked diligently to implement new programs and procedures, and to study the best enrollment levels to provide a quality higher education experience for the students.”
While the number of first-time freshmen was slightly down, the overall grade point average of the first-time freshmen rose for the fourth consecutive year. Entering first-year students averaged a 3.51 high school GPA, a record level, and averaged a 23.8 ACT composite score. The average ACT composite for the state is 20.4 and nationwide 21.0.
“The quality of students who choose Arkansas State for their college education continues to rise,” Hudson said. “Because of their academic achievements, these students have multiple options and they value A-State as their best opportunity.”
Arkansas State’s first-year retention rate increased from 74.5 percent to a new record of 76 percent. On-campus programs and a third consecutive year of full occupancy by over 3,200 students are key components in A-State’s retention performance.
“Governor (Asa) Hutchinson made clear to the leadership of higher education last week that increasing retention, reducing time to degree and increasing the number of graduates is crucial to our state’s future,” Hudson said.
This is the fourth consecutive year for growth in the first-year retention rate. Arkansas State is second in the state in this key measure, and ahead of its Southern Regional Education Board peers. The SREB Level III universities’ average is 72 percent, while the four-year public universities in Arkansas average 71.1 percent.
“We are admitting first-year students who are better prepared academically to succeed in college,” Stripling said. “With increased on-campus living, a continuing commitment to student programs and a culture of engagement from our faculty, we see this translating into a vibrant campus community that is a destination university of choice for more and more freshmen in our region.”
The state’s largest university online program saw growth, with enrollment for undergraduate and graduate students up. With more than 3,000 total online students for the first time, Arkansas State remains the largest in-state higher education provider.
“The quality of our online program is well known and each year we bring more full-degree programs online to serve both the residents of Arkansas and those who need high-value online education across the nation,” Executive Director of A-State Online Thilla Sivakumaran said.
Overall graduate enrollment and transfer enrollment from both two- and four-year universities increased.
The progress in retention and steadily rising academic standards resulted in A-State conferring more than 15,000 degrees the past four years, the most in a four-year period in school history.
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