UA enrollment sets new record, nears 20,000

The University of Arkansas set a new record for enrollment this fall semester, school officials reported Friday.

With an enrollment of 19,849 students, the state’s largest university has seen a 3.4 percent increase over the previous year, and is one of the largest increases in recent history for the UA. Graduate enrollment leads the way with a 7.3 percent and a total of 3,616 students.

“I am extremely pleased with this year’s enrollment figures,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart, who has set ambitious goals for enrollment growth. “Coming close to the 20,000 level is most significant and is certainly a vote of confidence in our faculty, our quality programs and the overall university.”

The overall enrollment increases come despite concerns that the economic recession would hurt higher education enrollment across the country and is a pleasant surprise to Suzanne McCray, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions. “What we initially thought might only be a slight increase has turned into significant growth. We are very pleased by these record-breaking numbers,” said McCray.

According to the university, the state of Arkansas requires institutions of higher education to report enrollment figures for students who are registered on the 11th day of classes. The enrollment numbers are not officially reported to the state until Oct. 17, and there often are minor differences between the 11th day “snapshot” and the final enrollment numbers.

UA Enrollment: Ethnicity and gender

African-Americans: 1,040 students (5.2%)
Hispanics: 699 students (3.5%)
Asian-Americans: 486 students (2.4%)
American-Indians: 331 students (1.7%)
Hawaiians: 13 students (0.1%)

* 272 students (1.4%) are of two or more races and 1,156 (5.8%) identify themselves as citizens of a foreign country. A total of 180 students (0.9%) did not provide information.

Men make up 51.4 percent of the student body, 48.6 percent of the students are women. This split is on par with 2008, when men comprised 51 percent of the student body, and women 49 percent.