Arkansas State University’s incoming international student population dropped 75% this fall. In 2016 the school had 124 first-year international students and it has declined to 34 this year. The trend mirrors a sharp decline in international students seeking an education in the U.S., ASU Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. International graduate student levels dropped 14.6%, to 245.
“The reduction in the number of international students is not a surprise, nor unique to Arkansas State – it is a problem nationwide,” Damphousse said.
ASU’s Jonesboro campus set an all-time record this fall with 14,125 students, 40 more than last year. But full-time equivalency enrollment or FTE’s dropped 3.3% to 9,779. FTE is a formula used by the state to differentiate between full-time, part-time, and online students, not just head counts, Damphousse said. It’s used to determine funding levels.
“We appreciate the rise in concurrent, online and graduate students, plus the addition of our new students at Campus Queretaro in our overall numbers, but we must recognize that the number of traditional incoming first-year students declined, and this is a problem we need to address,” Damphousse said. “We will need to examine the financial impact of a lower FTE count, and begin working together to better manage all the aspects of our overall enrollment mix.”
The fall 2017 enrollment included new records for the number of graduate students, 4,336, a 2% increase from 2016. ASU set a new record for total doctoral students with 291.
The 1,427 in the freshman class reset the mark for the most academically prepared class with an aggregate 24 ACT and a cumulative composite high school grade point average of 3.56. The best previous incoming ACT was 23.9 in fall 2014, with previous top high school GPA of 3.51 in fall 2015. The number of high school students seeking college credit through A-State is a new record with 663, up 43 from last year’s 620.
“These are students who can join us as member of the Class of 2022 or 2023 when they graduate from high school, and we are very pleased they have selected A-State to get a head start on their undergraduate studies,” Damphousse added.