Enrollment for the spring is only slightly down from the fall semester, with the total number of students being reduced to 4,037 from 4,371.
The retention rate for the 2012 freshmen cohort, initially consisting of 958 students, is similarly high at 90.1%. Bart Herridge, director of student retention and services, said 75.8% of these freshmen are expected to return next fall.
“Lower enrollment creates financial pressure on the university due to lower tuition revenue,” Herridge said. Â “We are addressing these pressures in prudent ways, primarily through expense savings and by not filling certain open positions.”
Herridge said the administration is working to not only retain current students but make the university more appealing to potential transfer and graduate students. Numbers for both of these categories declined this fall.
“We survey every student who leaves ACU. The most common reasons identified are financial concerns, ‘fit’ with the university and that ACU does not have the student’s major,” Herridge said. “All of these are areas of concern for the university and we are working hard to address them.”
The total number enrolled in fall 2011 was 4,558. However, 2011 also had one of the smallest freshmen classes in several years with only 864 enrolled. Allison Garrett, executive vice president, said a slight drop between fall and spring semesters is normal.
“This is due to students graduating in December and also to a few students who decided not to return to ACU for the spring semester,” Garrett said. “A drop from the fall to the spring semester is expected and something that every institution sees as part of the normal enrollment cycle.”
Garrett said interest for next semester’s enrollment is high.
“Our admissions staff has been working hard to assure strong fall enrollment,” Garrett said. “While it is still too early to provide definite projections for next fall’s freshmen class, the interest level we are seeing as evidenced by campus visits and applications is up over last year.”
John Daily, sophomore marketing major from Richland Hills, transferred to ACU this semester. He said he loves the environment.
“It truly feels like a place where people care about each other and where it’s completely normal for ChristiansÂ to express their faith,” Daily said. “I feel like my teachers are at this school because they actually want to help me succeed.”