Nacogdoches, tx — Despite predictions of lower enrollment as a result of stricter admission requirements this fall, Stephen F. Austin State University has recorded its highest enrollment in history. Enrollment for the fall semester is 12,999, up .7 percent from 12,903 in fall 2011.
Although the number of freshmen at SFA is down 5 percent, from 3,747 to 3,558, the number of graduate students increased 10.8 percent, from 1,535 to 1,701. Additionally, increases in the number of students were recorded for other classifications: sophomore numbers increased from 2,273 to 2,293; juniors grew from 2,395 to 2,475; and seniors rose from 2,953 to 2,972.
“We appreciate the diligent work of faculty and staff members across campus who have assisted in university recruiting efforts and contributed to the educational environment at SFA that leads to student learning,” said Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA president.
“The fact that our overall enrollment increased during a year in which we increased admission requirements confirms our belief that we should continue to emphasize faculty involvement with our students, small class sizes and a variety of campus-involvement opportunities for our students.”
The number of students transferring from other colleges and universities increased 10.5 percent, from 920 last fall to 1,017 this year.
“This is particularly good news for SFA,” said Dr. Richard Berry, SFA provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Students who transfer to a university from another higher education institution tend to have been successful at their prior institutions and are likely to have adjusted to the academic rigors of college-level coursework. Statistically it is more likely that these students will persist to graduation.”
Hispanic enrollment at SFA is up 16.9 percent, from 1,323 to 1,547. SFA representatives said this increase reflects the university’s efforts to meet the goals of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Closing the Gaps initiatives. The education plan was adopted in 2000 with the goal of closing the gaps in student participation and success, increasing the number of nationally recognized programs or services at universities in Texas, and increasing the level of federal science and engineering research in Texas.
The enrollment figures at SFA showed promise of historic highs throughout the first two weeks of classes.
“Over the course of the first couple of weeks of school, enrollment will vary due to students adding and dropping courses,” Pattillo said. “At one point last week, enrollment was as high as 13,007. It just so happened that on the official census day, with drops and adds, we landed on 12,999.”
SFA has achieved record high enrollments in three of the past four years. Enrollment in fall 2009 was 12,845, and fall 2010 enrollment was 12,954. The university is discussing plans for another increase in academic standards for admission to be implemented in 2015.