The University of Arkansas at Little Rock exceeded its enrollment predictions and is experiencing record-setting growth for first-time freshmen, transfer, and graduate students for the fall 2022 semester.
“This positive enrollment news reflects our commitment to provide an affordable, high-quality education connected to opportunity in Arkansas’ capital city and beyond,” said Chancellor Christina Drale. “I’m really proud of our Trojan family for making this a reality. Everyone has a part to play in the mission of student success and, across the board, I can say that everyone at UA Little Rock is leaning into this effort. We look forward to working with these new students and helping them reach their full potential.
This includes an unprecedented growth of 29 percent for first-time freshmen, while transfer students are up 8 percent and graduate students, 5 percent.
“UA Little Rock is experiencing its largest percent increase in first-time freshmen and transfer students in over a decade,” said Dr. Cody Decker, vice chancellor for student affairs and chief data officer. “In addition to new student enrollment growth, student success measures continue to rise, with fall-to-fall retention improving from 65 percent to 75 percent. UA Little Rock has a highly qualified incoming class of freshmen with an average high school GPA of 3.3 and average ACT score of 22.4.”
The positive increase in enrollment is attributed to UA Little Rock’s focus on college affordability, the university’s investment in the learning and living environment, and a commitment to increasing student success.
“We have focused on making sure prospective students are aware of all the opportunities available at UA Little Rock, including the university’s competitive scholarship portfolio,” said Decker. “For example, one option for our incoming freshmen is a half-off tuition scholarship for eligible students. That scholarship supports our mission of making college accessible to Arkansans and was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor who gave the university $25 million dollars in 2020.”
UA Little Rock is also providing opportunities for nontraditional students to fulfill their goals of earning a college education. The university’s new corporate partnerships make it easier for working adults to go to school. Some of the new partnerships include the Amazon Career Choice Program as well as a tuition and fee discount for employees of CHI St. Vincent and Saline Memorial Hospital.
UA Little Rock saw a continued increase in graduate school education. The positive enrollment follows a 45 percent increase in graduate applications and 31 percent increase in admissions. The Department of Information Science saw the highest jump with an increase of 86 percent. Enrollment in history, computer science, art and design, and biology graduate programs were also on the rise.
With the university seeing a rise in enrollment in many programs in the Donaghey College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, this is an exciting time for STEM education at UA Little Rock. The university has exciting things in the works that will pave the way for STEM education for many years to come.
“Graduate education continues to be a priority for many baccalaureate prepared students due to the value that a graduate degree brings,” said Dr. Brian Berry, vice provost of research and dean of the Graduate School. “This is particularly true in the fields of cybersecurity, information science, and information quality as evidenced by their significant growth this year. Growth in these areas is critical for developing the workforce needed to meet the demands of our growing, knowledge-based economy here in Arkansas and across the region.”
The university has also worked to ensure prospective students know about the social and educational benefits of living on campus. The result has been an increase in housing occupancy by more than 11 percent over last year.
“We are excited to welcome so many new and returning students to our beautiful campus,” said Patti Light, director of campus living. “We have seen more students wanting the connection that living on campus brings. They are right where their friends and classes meet.”
Compared to the fall 2021 semester, UA Little Rock’s overall enrollment is down 2.7 percent with a total enrollment of 8,103 for the fall semester. While overall enrollment is still down across many college campuses, UA Little Rock is outperforming its overall enrollment projections by about 3 percent.
“At UA Little Rock, we have made it our mission to focus on providing the best college experience for our students,” said Kindle Holderby, assistant vice chancellor of enrollment management. “Whether it’s a campus visit, attending orientation, or enrolling with an advisor, ensuring that students and their families have a positive experience will always be our top priority.”