By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
Official 12th-day enrollment statistics show the College of Business Administration with a surprisingly drastic slide of 68 students, an 8 percent drop.
The College of Arts and Sciences also saw its enrollment fall, but by just 19 students. Only the College of Biblical Studies enrolled more students than last fall.
“It’s a significant drop,” said Dr. Rick Lytle, dean of COBA. “We’re not necessarily sure, at this point, that it’s a bad thing.”
Lytle said the figures, which show COBA with 770 students this fall, down from 838, were initially surprising, especially because the college had grown at a rate faster than the university for the past 11 years.
Meanwhile, Dr. Colleen Durrington, chair of the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was pleased with the loss of just 19 students out of 2,587 enrolled last fall.
“I’m really, really pleased with that,” Durrington said. Arts and Sciences has begun phasing out several majors as a result of the university’s reallocation process, yet it still is providing more credit hours than last fall, Durrington said.
Likewise, the College of Biblical Studies’ enrollment jumped from 487 last fall to 512 this semester.
Lytle attributed COBA’s drop to three main things: raised admissions standards, lower university recruitment and a nationwide mistrust of business after this summer’s string of high-profile bankruptcy scandals that erased both consumer confidence and billions of dollars in savings.
“It has been a very unusual year in the marketplace,” he said. Everyone’s re-evaluIating and readjusting.”
Lytle added that a lower enrollment would have no effect on the college’s acccreditation attempts. In fact, he said, fewer students means a lower faculty-student ratio, which could improve COBA’s standing.
The slow-to-recover economy in conjunction with worldwide terrorism fears is also being blamed for the university’s overall enrollment drop, which turned out to be much better than university officials had officially predicted.
ACU enrolled only 13 fewer students this fall than in 2001, thanks to large gains made by the Bachelor of Applied Studies program and the university’s graduate schools.