By Mallory Sherwood, Features Editor
The Admissions Office estimates an increase in enrollment from the 2004 spring semester, and official numbers were not released until Wednesday.
Robert Heil, director of admissions and enrollment management, said between 4,375 and 4,440 students enrolled this semester.
University officials are increasing recruiting efforts as the Centennial Campaign draws near. They said they hope to counter the number of students who leave after the fall semester.
This past fall, ACU set a new record with an entering class of more than 1,200 students. Total enrollment was 4,786 students.
More than 300 students left ACU after the fall semester, including December graduates, but this is a trend that occurs every year, Heil said. Typically spring enrollment is about 200 students less than a fall semester enrollment count.
Jack Rich, executive vice president and administrator over recruiting and admissions, said 10 to 12 percent of the freshman class leave after their first semester.
According to the ACU enrollment statistics online, enrollment drops 6-8 percent every year between the fall and spring semesters.
But even with the enrollment drop from the fall, budget expectations should still exceed the average for this school year, Rich said.
Higher graduation rates influence enrollment, Rich said.
“Higher percentages of students are graduating in four years, which tends to reduce the number of enrollment because students aren’t coming back for the next semester,” he said. “They aren’t needing five to six years anymore. We’ve tried to improve graduation rates, and so we are pleased with that.”
“The number of new entering students, the number of December graduates and retention rates can all impact enrollment,” Heil said.
The Admissions Office also is pleased with the expectation of future growth. To work toward this goal, officials plan to continue to work to bring more students in, Rich said.
“We have a great recruiting team,” Heil said. “We also have so many alumni throughout the U.S. that volunteer their time to help recruit students to ACU,” Heil said.
With the Centennial Campaign scheduled to begin in the fall of 2005, the Admissions Office is setting more goals.
“ACU’s Centennial vision calls for enrollment of 4,800 to 5,200 students by 2006,” Heil said. “This past fall’s enrollment put us very close to that goal.”