Early Numbers Indicate Record College Enrollment in Arkansas

by George Waldon  on Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 12:00 am  

Students at Arkansas Tech University make their way to class on the first day of the fall 2012 semester. (Photo by Liz Chrisman)

The overall retention rate for students attending four-year public universities is 67.9 percent in a fall 2010 to fall 2011 comparison. That was down from a five-year peak of 69.9 percent in the fall 2008 to fall 2009 comparison.

"We really hope to see a large number that shows up in higher retention rates," said Brandi Hinkle, communications coordinator at the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. "That means that students are making forward progress."

Private Numbers

John Brown University in Siloam Springs submitted its "11th Day" report to the U.S. Department of Education reflecting a fall 2012 enrollment of 2,176, a one-year increase of 2 percent. The recent roll call of JBU students marked the biggest in the school's history.

"We are pleased to see continued, sustained growth in our enrollment," said Don Crandall, vice president of enrollment. "Strong enrollment and retention is evidence of the great people and programs at JBU."

The overall retention rate for the fall 2011 cohort topped 84 percent.

The university is forecasting the October 2012 student count to be 2,230, the difference being that graduate and degree completion program enrollment cycles aren't timed with the traditional undergraduate enrollment.

That projected October census doesn't include 234 students taking classes in JBU's concurrent education program.

Undergraduate enrollment for fall 2012 set a new record of 4,390 at Harding University in Searcy. The one-year gain of 50 students equaled a 1.1 percent increase.

The private school posted an 81 percent retention rate.

Arkansas joined other states in declaring September "National College Savings Month." Gov. Mike Beebe formalized the proclamation in an effort to raise awareness and encourage families to set aside money to help their children pay for post-high school education.

Median family income in 2010 in the U.S. for families headed by a bachelor's degree holder or higher was $99,716, more than double the median family income for families headed by a holder of a high school diploma.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.