UAFS Releases Spring Enrollment Numbers(Posted: January 30, 2014)
Spring semester enrollment figures at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith show declines in full-time equivalent (FTE) and in total headcount numbers, but the demographics of the declining numbers indicate UAFS is attracting fewer remedial students as the University continues moving away from a community college focus and population.
FTE dropped by 4 percent to 5,078, with headcount dropping 5.8 percent from last spring to 6,204, as reported after the 11th day of classes. The drop in remediation is good news, according to Dr. Ray Wallace, provost and senior vice chancellor.
"The university saw a 27 percent decline in the number of students enrolled in only remedial courses," said Wallace. "In addition, our ongoing fiscal policies to curtail enrollment by students who have a significant unpaid balance from previous academic terms is also affecting enrollment."
Chancellor Paul B. Beran is pleased with one of the areas showing a jump – a 6 percent increase in upper-level student semester credit hours. Beran noted that the University experienced an overall increase in the student semester credit hours in three colleges – Applied Science and Technology, Business, and Health Sciences.
"This indicates that the retention of students is increasing and that their course loads are higher compared to last spring," he said. "UAFS students are individually enrolling in more classes."
He said that the campus also continues to diversify.
"We have," he said, "a 5 percent increase in students under 21, a 14 percent enrollment increase in the number of students taking web-based courses, a 26 percent increase in those enrolled in weekend courses, and an 11 percent increase in high school students simultaneously taking UAFS college credit courses."
Beran pointed out that the university is responding well to the growing demand for web-based instruction and that the quality of teaching remains very high.
"UAFS is successful in reaching a wide variety of students through traditional and innovative methods, and we will continue to expand to serve new populations," he said.
Wallace commented that, as a regional four-year university, UAFS continues to enroll students from various backgrounds.
"Our out-of-state enrollments increased by 13 percent, our enrollments from just the state of Oklahoma increased 21 percent, and international student enrollment increased by 30 percent," said Wallace. "We strongly believe that the academic initiatives, such as offering more intersession courses between academic terms and offering completer degrees to even more community colleges across the state, point to increased enrollments for the future."
Wallace said that UAFS is working diligently to replace the decreasing numbers of remedial students "with students interested in our exciting new degree offerings which will roll out for the fall 2014 semester."
Beran said, "The bottom line is we must broaden our outreach to traditional high school students while also attracting more non-traditional students, especially those who already have college hours, and get them re-enrolled and ultimately graduated."
|Photo(s) by: Corey S. Krasko, Photographer, Marketing & Communications Office|