• Cydney Thompson, Northeast Arkansas News

A-State sets new record for 1st year students

Arkansas State University has announced its enrollment numbers remained greatly unaffected heading into the new year with only 48 less students than the 2019 semester.

“We’re fortunate to see that our enrollment is essentially flat compared to last year and we know other universities are not quite that fortunate in the region so, we’re very pleased with that,” Chief Communication Officer Bill Smith said.

The university reported a total enrollment on the eleventh day of classes for this fall at 13, 843 students.

For specific changes, they do not have as many international students like they’ve had in the past, a few less students on campus and a few more that have opted to online enrollment.

“We have a lot of students in our online programs. And online, especially graduate online continues to grow for us, year after year. We also welcomed one of our largest classes at our Queretaro Mexico this year and they count in the overall numbers.

According to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education, among the 10 four-year public universities in the state, the average decline in enrollment this fall is 2.1%.

For A-State they were particular grateful for their first-year retention numbers. They have set a new record for first- year student retention at 79%.

“It really reflects the commitment by our faculty and staff and advising support areas to help those students stay with us. Think about what their first-year experience was like. Your first year in college, your second semester is coronavirus and you committed to come back to school in the fall. So, our hats are off to the folks that helped them make those decisions and to our students.”

Smith says although they are glad for their first-year retention record, they are wanting to focus on doing the same for all of their students and putting that on the forefront.

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