JONESBORO – Arkansas State University reported a preliminary 11th class day head count of 13,891 students for the Fall 2019 semester. Final fall enrollment numbers will be reported later this month to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. This represents a 1.2% decline compared to last year.
According to Chancellor Kelly Damphousse, college enrollment across the state is being affected by decreasing college-going rates of high school graduates, which dipped below 50% two years ago.
“In addition, A-State had a very small freshman class in Fall 2017 who are our current juniors, and we lost 28% of our Fall 2016 class, who are our current seniors,” Damphousse said. “Combined with our record graduation rates, we are experiencing enrollment lag because of those two classes.”
Like many universities across the country, A-State saw declines in first-time students, down 174 to 1,391, and in international student enrollment, down 10.2%.
“The problem is not a lack of interest in our by international students,” Damphousse said. “The demand is there, but many of the students we admitted were not able to get student visas.”
Arkansas State continues to be the state’s largest 100-percent online college program, with 4,113 students at the start of the Fall I online semester, with an anticipated peak later during the Fall II start date in October. A-State also saw continued growth as one of the state’s largest graduate student programs (4,428), with over 3,400 online graduate students and 1,100 on-campus graduate students.
The university also saw a significant increases in students at Campus Queretaro, with enrollment there reaching 535 students.
“Not only did we recruit the largest freshman class in A-State CQ history this fall, we retained a remarkable 90% of the Fall 2018 freshmen,” Damphousse said. “That resulted in our population at CQ almost doubling this year.”
The university also saw growth in concurrent high schools students with more than 712 enrolled for the fall.
For the second year in a row, freshman retention topped 75 percent, compared to 72 percent as recently as Fall 2017.
“While I am glad to see that the past two years have seen our best retention outcomes, losing nearly a quarter of your freshman class is still not where we need to be,” Damphousse said. “Our new Provost is assessing our first-year retention efforts, seeking where we can wisely invest in student success. Our new Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management has reorganized his division and he has just brought on a new Senior Director of Admissions. I anticipate improvement in recruitment and retention for this coming spring and next fall.”
Arkansas State’s incoming Class of 2023 continued the precedent of the last three years with an overall average ACT of 24, well above the state average, with an overall high school GPA near 3.5. The university’s efforts to welcome a diverse student population saw more than 20% of the Class of 2023 reporting minority status, up from 16% for the previous year.
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Original article source: http://www.astate.edu/news/arkansas-state-reports-fall-2019-enrollment | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council