University of Arkansas officials announced record-breaking enrollment this semester. At nearly 24,600 students, the school surpassed last year’s fall enrollment mark of 23,199.
Preliminary totals also show undergraduate enrollment topping 20,000 for the first time, and freshman enrollment of more than 4,500 new students.
UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart said while those numbers are impressive, they’re not as exciting as the fact that the quality of students the university is attracting continues to grow as well.
“Many times growth at colleges and universities comes at the cost of academic standards, but the growth the University of Arkansas has been experiencing over the past few years is different — it’s quality growth coming mostly from existing students succeeding and making positive progress toward graduation,” said Gearhart in a news release.
For the last several years, the university’s incoming freshmen classes have been among the school’s best. This year is no exception.
“We continue to see an increase in students with grade point averages above 3.6 and ACT scores of 26 or higher,” Gearhart said. “We’ve also seen a significant increase in the number of students graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. So we can again say this year’s incoming class is the most academically accomplished and most prepared in the history of the University of Arkansas.”
Undergraduate enrollment at the university has soared, increasing by nearly 37 percent since 2007. In 2009, the university’s total enrollment was just under 20,000; three years later the undergraduate population alone – 20,433 – is larger than that, in addition to the nearly 4,200 graduate students now enrolled. The population of underrepresented students on campus is growing as well, up more than 24 percent over the last three years.
Official enrollment numbers will not be available until after the “11th day snapshot” required by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. That information will be collected on Sept. 4. The enrollment data is then analyzed and reviewed for accuracy before a preliminary report is submitted to the department, with the final numbers set to be officially filed by mid-October.