Jeremy Alford

Fall enrollment bounces (almost) everywhere

by Jeremy Alford

Seven out of the eight colleges in the University of Louisiana System experienced increases in their fall enrollments when compared to the same semester in 2007. Overall, the number of students statewide rose to 80,845 this fall, an increase of 1,420 students or 1.79 percent.

UL System President Randy Moffett said the increase indicates that heightened recruitment efforts underway around the state are bearing fruit. But he also recognized the success of universities in retaining freshmen after an erratic start to the new school year. "The increase in student enrollment is particularly positive in light of the turmoil on our campuses caused by hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” he says. “It is much due to the active interaction with students and efficient operations of the campuses before, during and after the storms.”

The only campus that didn’t experience an increase in enrollment was the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which suffered a 0.15 percent drop. There are presently 16,320 students enrolled for fall instruction, compared to 16,345 in 2005. The change, however, is minimal; it represents a loss of only 25 students. With tougher admission standards on the books and the implementation of a 5 percent tuition hike, many were expecting rougher numbers.

Additionally, the Lafayette campus is still enjoying an increase from its 2006 fall enrollment, which boasted only 16,302 students. When a two-year comparison is applied to the other eight campuses in the UL system, the only enrollment decreases are at Louisiana Tech University (11,200 to 10,950) and Northwestern State University (9,431 to 9,111).