UA enrollment down for 2019

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For the first time in two decades, enrollment numbers at the UA aren’t setting a new record.

UA officials last month announced that enrollment has stabilized after a period of record growth. Preliminary figures indicate 27,559 students are enrolled on campus for the fall 2019 semester, down 219 students from 27,778 last year.

“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.”

The numbers include 23,025 undergraduate students, 4,170 graduate students, and 364 students in the School of Law.

The incoming freshman class included 4,601 students this year, 51.8% of which come from the state of Arkansas.

UA officials say one-year retention rates are up this year to a record 84.2% breaking the previous mark of 83.8% in 2018.

Six-year graduation rates are also up to 66.2% from 65.5% in 2018, and five-year graduation rates are also up three points to 66.1%, with four-year rates coming up at 51.9%.

“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.”

Construction of the new 71,000-square-foot Student Success Center will begin this fall, with a schedule completion date of sometime in 2022.

These numbers are based on the 11th day enrollment “snapshot” required by the Department of Higher Education taken on Sept. 10. Enrollment will officially be reported this month.