LAFAYETTE, LA — First-time freshmen and transfer student enrollment at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is up 3 percent for Fall 2013 over last year, despite a second year of tougher admissions standards.
The number of first-time freshmen who entered for the fall semester is 2,565, up 3 percent from the previous fall’s 2,483 first-time freshmen. New transfer student enrollment was 807, an increase of 24 percent, or 156 more students than Fall 2012.
Dr. DeWayne Bowie, UL Lafayette’s vice president for Enrollment Management, said there were some decreases in re-entry students and the number of first-time freshmen who entered in the summer session. He said those declines did not affect the overall enrollment because they were offset by increases in other areas, such as first-time graduate students, online degree programs, and high school dual enrollment numbers.
The University’s regular enrollment remains stable, with 16,647 for the Fall 2013 semester. Last year, the enrollment was 16,687, a difference of 40 students. The university also is enrolling a number of students in professional programs and credit-bearing continuing education for a Fall 2013 total enrollment of 18,235.
“Upon increasing our academic standards last year, we anticipated a possible decline in the number of eligible students,” Bowie said. “However, in the last two years, we worked hard to grow our enrollment while attracting the most academically talented students we’ve ever enrolled.”
The Fall 2013 freshmen class includes 102 high school valedictorians, up from last year’s 87. The average high school GPA is 3.3 and the average ACT composite score is 23.10.
University President Dr. Joseph Savoie said enrolling better-prepared students improves student retention and graduation rates. The University’s graduation rate recently rose from 41 to 44 percent. While UL Lafayette has maintained the third-highest graduation rate among public universities in Louisiana, he said he would like to increase that rate to 50 percent in four years.
In addition to attracting students who are better prepared academically, the University is welcoming more students from around the globe. There are 1,198 out-of-state students.
The number of new international students has increased by 25 percent since last year, and grew by 49 percent since 2011. New international student enrollment for Fall 2013 is 156 students, compared to 125 in Fall 2012, and 105 in Fall 2011. The total international student enrollment is 695.
“Increased global perspectives, on-campus living-learning environments, and abundant academic support services foster the success of all of our students,” Savoie said.
In August, Washington Monthly magazine ranked UL Lafayette as the fourth-best university in the nation at helping lower-income students earn degrees and the overall no. 102 university in the nation in its annual college guide. The Princeton Review cited UL Lafayette as one of the nation’s best 378 institutions for undergraduate education.
The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency List identified UL Lafayette as the most affordable university in Louisiana earlier this year. In addition to leading Louisiana as the university with the lowest average net price to attend, UL Lafayette is among the top 10 percent of most affordable four-year public universities in the United States.