University of Arkansas enrollment dips slightly this fall

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 207 views 

There are 27,559 students enrolled at the University of Arkansas’ Fayetteville campus for the fall semester, down slightly from the 27,778 reported a year ago. University officials said enrollment seems to be stabilizing after two decades of rapid growth. This is the third year fall enrollment topped 27,000, according to a UA news release.

“We were the fastest-growing land-grant university in the country from 2007-2017, according to Bloomberg, but we knew that could not continue forever and have been planning for an enrollment landscape that has fewer high school graduates nationally and in Arkansas,” said Suzanne McCray, vice provost for enrollment management and the dean of admissions. “We have achieved a student body size that works well for our campus and for the needs of our students and faculty. Sustainable growth that matches infrastructure development is important going forward. Quality and targeted growth will continue to be our goal, and we feel well positioned to attain it.”

Arkansans made up 51.8% of the incoming freshman class of 4,601. While the number of freshmen is down from last fall, graduate school enrollment, now 4,170, grew by 146 students, or an increase of 3.6% since last year, according to the UA.

University officials were happy about improvements to the school’s one-year retention rates, which increased to a record 84.2%, compared to 83.8% in the previous year. Four-year, five-year and six-year graduation rates also reached record highs. The six-year graduation rate increased to 66.2%, bettering the previous year’s record mark of 65.5%. The five-year rate increased by three percentage points to 66.1% while the four-year rate increased by 1.5 percentage points to the new record 51.9%, the release states.

“We believe our focus on enhancing the academic support and services that we provide to our students is paying off,” said Jim Coleman, executive vice chancellor and provost. “The four-year graduation rate increased from 42.1% to 51.8%, in just four years. This means we are really making progress on students graduating on time, and thus taking on less debt. And the addition of a center dedicated to student success, essentially a one-stop shop for student support, will only increase our ability to help students excel with their studies while staying on course to graduate on time.”

The UA also reported the average ACT score for incoming freshmen this fall was 26.3 and the average high school grade point average was 3.72. Females comprise 54.8% of the freshman class and females also make 53.4% of the total student enrollment.

The enrollment reading was taken on the 11th day of class and could change when the final number is reported in October. The UA reports 23,025 undergraduates enrolled this fall along with 364 students enrolled in the School of Law.

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