Saturday, September 18, 2010

Week in Review

State Capitol Week in Review

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas colleges and universities are reporting strong growth in enrollment this semester, and the availability of lottery scholarships gets most of the credit.

The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has a record number of students this fall with 21,406. Enrollment was up 7.8 percent over last year. The College of Engineering and the College of Education and Health Professions had the largest percentage increases and the university's J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences had the largest numerical increase.

The student populations at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville increased 11.2 percent to 9,801, which is a record. This semester marks the first time enrollment has exceeded 9,000 at the university.

Arkansas State University in Jonesboro also set a record for enrollment this fall, with 13,438 students. That is an increase of 1,042 students, or 8.4 percent, above enrollment in the spring. It is 10.5 percent higher than enrollment a year ago.

The increase in graduate level students at ASU was particularly impressive. There are 3,371 graduate students enrolled this fall, compared to 1,239 students last year, according to the university. That is a 58 percent increase compared to the fall of 2009.

ASU's largest enrollment is in the College of Education, which has 3,811 students, an increase of 43 percent over last year. According to a university spokesman almost all of the increase was attributable to distance learning.

Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia set a campus record for the second consecutive year with enrollment of 3,379 students. That is an increase of 4.86 percent from last year.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello saw its student population go up by 4.85 percent this semester, to a record number of 3,648 at its campuses in Monticello, Crossett and McGehee. It is the fifth straight year UAM has set an attendance record.

The University of Central Arkansas at Conway had a decrease of 2.9 percent in its enrollment, to 11,781 students. UCA has experienced a surge of growth over the past decade, but this year and last year deliberately scaled back the number of concurrent students. Concurrent students are high school students who take courses for college credit. The availability of lottery scholarships was a factor in growth of traditional students this semester - the freshman class at UCA is up 3.9 percent over last year.

The fall headcount at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith is a record 7,719 students. That is 5.4 percent above last year's enrollment, which at the time was a record. In the past 10 years the student population at UA Fort Smith has grown 97 percent.

Henderson State University at Arkadelphia grew by 8 percent, to 3,709 students. Even more impressive was an increase in the freshman class of 27 percent compared to the fall of 2009.

Pulaski Tech, the state's largest two-year college, experienced enrollment growth of 9.3 percent. Enrollment is now a record 11,213 students. The second largest two-year college is Northwest Arkansas Community College, with 8,461 students. Its student population increased by 4.4 percent.

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