By Steve Holt, Staff Writer
Though official 12th day enrollment figures won’t be released for a few more weeks, the administration and admissions officials are predicting enrollment to increase slightly from last school year.
“We think it’s going to be up a little bit,” said executive vice president Jack Rich, who is the administrator over recruiting and admissions. “We’re not ready to give much guess work until the 12th day because there are just too many things that can happen and too many surprises that can take place.”
Rich added that he expects enrollment to be about where the university budgeted and fairly comparable to last year’s numbers.
Tim Johnston, assistant vice president for strategic marketing and enrollment, said a real strength of the preliminary enrollment numbers is the number of out-of-state students, but added that he is unsure of the overall numbers.
“The real plus for this year is a growth in entering students from outside of Texas,” Johnston said. “It is too early to know for sure if overall enrollment will be up. I think it will be close depending on the number of graduate students who enter in the next few days.”
He also said the incoming class is expected to have made gains in other areas.
“Lord willing, we should increase by 10 students, and our cultural diversity is projected to reach an all-time high for new students-approximately 21 percent,” Johnston said.
Rich said several factors go into pre-12th day enrollment projections.
“We’ll look at prior years and the trends that have taken place,” Rich said. “For new students, we’ll look at the number of applications we’ve received, the number of deposits we’ve received for housing, the number of students who’ve registered for Passport-all those things go into projecting the process.”
As of Monday, Johnston said 1,101 entering full-time domestic students had enrolled at ACU, compared to 1,091 at this time last year.
Last fall, 4,677 full-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at ACU, a number that was down by just 13 students from 2001. Despite flat enrollment numbers since 2001, Johnston said he chooses to look at the bigger picture.
“In 2001, our efforts to shape our entering class enabled us to improve our SAT average, while holding gains in our cultural diversity and achieving a large entering class,” Johnston said. “So in my opinion, fall 2002 was our first downturn since the fall of 1999, when we enrolled 1,067 students.”