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Arkansas State University announces record enrollment for fall 2009

Sept. 9, 2009 -
- As Arkansas State University celebrates its Centennial year, Chancellor Robert L. Potts today announced a record enrollment for the fall 2009 semester.  The preliminary total enrollment to be reported to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education from the 11th class day is 12,185, up 695 students, representing a 6% increase over 2008’s final fall enrollment of 11,490. Not included in this count are an additional 218 students in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program, which prepares these students to participate in regular academic courses in the future. Thus, with these students included, ASU has 12,403 students registered this fall.

Chancellor Potts said, “I am extremely pleased that Arkansas State University-Jonesboro continues to grow in popularity as a first-choice university, both for Arkansans and for students from other U.S. states and other countries. I commend the outstanding efforts on the part of the Office of Admissions, the Office of International Programs, the faculty, and many others across campus who worked collaboratively to achieve the new record. Exceeding the 12,000 student level is a significant milestone for our university.”

Fall 2009 marks the largest enrollment of graduate students ever recorded; 2,136 graduate students were enrolled at all ASUJ instructional sites, compared to 1,726 for fall 2008. Graduate student enrollment includes 1,743 students enrolled in master's degree programs, 131 enrolled in specialist degree programs, and 176 enrolled in doctoral degree programs.

The total undergraduate headcount was 10,049, up 285 students from fall 2008’s 9,764 for a 2.9% increase. The total number for new freshmen stands at 1,736, or 166 students fewer than last fall’s 1,902.  “When comparing this fall’s enrollment to 2008, it is significant to note that enrollment increased at the same time we were raising academic standards,” said Dr. Rick Stripling, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “First-time freshmen enrollment dropped, due primarily to the new admission standards, but the increases in non-traditional, international, and graduate students more than made up for the decline in new freshmen.”  Stripling noted that students enrolled at ASU came from 40 states and 51 countries.

International student enrollment also broke records; international student enrollment for 2009 is 418, an increase of 96 students, or
29.8%, compared to 322 international students in fall 2008. The previous highest international enrollment was 330 in 1992.

Dr. Dan Howard, ASU’s provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research, said, “ASU has been remarkably successful in recruiting 418 well-qualified international students from 51 countries, with China, India, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, and Turkey leading the list, and an additional 218 students are participating in English as a Second Language (ESL). These international students add tremendous diversity to our university and help better prepare all students for the challenges associated with a globally interconnected and highly competitive workplace. In addition, international students contribute significantly to the financial soundness of the university during these difficult economic times.”

Howard said, “The Office of International Programs, under the leadership of Tugrul Polat, warrants special recognition for its unparalleled success in recruiting well-qualified international students for ASU at record levels.”

The fall 2009 ASU enrollment includes 1,855 students enrolled at other instructional sites, including 856 students enrolled in baccalaureate or graduate degree programs offered at ASU Degree Centers. The 1,855 figure includes 643 students enrolled at ASU-Paragould and 296 high school students concurrently enrolled in courses offered by ASU-Jonesboro. Concurrent enrollment is in accordance with Arkansas Department of Higher Education guidelines.

Positive trends in the enrollment statistics also show that university initiatives are working, according to Stripling, who oversees the Office of Admissions. “The preliminary numbers continue to offer strong evidence that the university’s strategic enrollment initiatives are showing positive results," he said. Stripling particularly commended the Office of Admissions for its extra efforts in recruitment.

 Another significant trend noted is the popularity of online instruction. The online headcount increased from 2,692 in fall 2008 to 3,200 this year, an addition of 508 students for an 18.9% increase, and the online FTE headcount, at 746 last year, is 1,242 for this year, representing 496 students for a 66.5% increase. "The growth in online instruction is a direct response to the students’ demand for flexibility in scheduling," Stripling said. "The credit goes to the faculty in the academic colleges who are excelling in providing online course offerings, and also to the implementation of the graduate online degree program established in the College of Education.”

The total current full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment is 9,331, up 232 FTE for a 2.5% increase from fall 2008, or a 2,506 increase from 2005. “This represents an important upward trend,” said Dr. Kathryn Jones, director of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education funding formula for public institutions of higher education is based on weighted FTE.

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