Freshman Enrollment Increases Six Percent

The University of Central Arkansas had a 6.2 percent increase in freshman enrollment, bringing the freshman class to 1,961 students for the fall of 2011, according to preliminary enrollment data.

An overflow of freshmen caused a temporary shortage in housing for the incoming class. Residence halls are over capacity, with an occupancy rate of 100.69 percent.

Despite the increase in the entering freshman, overall enrollment at UCA is down 2.4 percent. The university’s fall enrollment stands at 11,164, according to preliminary numbers. The fall enrollment for 2010 was 11,444.

University officials are encouraged by the second straight year of strong freshmen enrollment, said Dr. Robert Parrent, vice president for enrollment management. At the same time, the university has seen continued academic excellence in its freshman class.

“While the ACT average dropped in the state, ours continue to be very strong,” Parrent said. “The outstanding academic programs and the distinct and unique opportunities afforded through the Honors College and Residential Colleges continue to be strong calling cards for serious-minded students choosing UCA. The opportunity for undergraduates to engage in research is another major factor.” 

Graduate student enrollment is 1,561, about 60 fewer graduate students than in the fall of 2010, according to preliminary numbers.

University officials will embark on a recruitment strategy within the next few months to improve enrollment numbers, said Interim President Tom Courtway.

“The good news is our freshman enrollment has been up the last two years. We need to work on recruiting another strong freshman class and also increase our graduate enrollment,” he said.