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UL Lafayette sees increase in first-time freshmen, grad school enrollment

UL Lafayette enrollment.jpg
Posted at 9:31 AM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 10:31:34-04

UL Lafayette says that the number of first-time freshmen at the university has increased along with grad school enrollment for the Fall 2021 semester.

According to data released Wednesday by the university, the number of first-time freshmen has grown by more than 15%.

A total of 2,693 freshman are enrolled at UL Lafayette for the Fall 2021 semester. That’s up from 2,338 last fall and marks a 15.2% increase, noted Dr. DeWayne Bowie, vice president for Enrollment Management.

“More freshmen are choosing UL Lafayette because of the strong reputation the University enjoys for providing exceptional educational experiences and opportunities in a tight-knit, friendly community,” Bowie said. “Small class sizes, individualized instruction, affordability and nationally ranked academic programs are among the reasons students choose to pursue their dreams here."

UL Lafayette released Fall 2021 enrollment data on Wednesday. Some of that data highlights the following:

  • a 5.7% increase in the number of high school juniors and seniors who are dually enrolled at the University and earn college credits while still in high school;
  • a 4.4% increase in the number of students who have transferred to UL Lafayette from other colleges and universities; and
  • a 3.9% increase in Graduate School enrollment.

UL Lafayette says a total of 2,525 graduate students are enrolled this fall, up 95 from Fall 2020.

The number of students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees has increased by 66% in five years, according to Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, dean of the Graduate School.

UL Lafayette had 1,521 graduate students in Fall 2016.

The university attributes the increase to the growth of online delivery of the MBA program, strong retention rates across the University’s nearly 50 master’s and doctoral degree curriculums, the creation of new graduate programs, and the expansion of others into online and executive formats.

“The enrollment progress we continue to experience reflects an institutional commitment to graduate education. It’s also a testament to the quality and resiliency of the graduate students who enroll here and the faculty members who are wholly dedicated to their success,” Farmer-Kaiser said.

UL Lafayette has 13,700 undergraduates this semester. When combined with the Graduate School total, that enrollment climbs to 16,225 students.

That’s 225 fewer students than the Fall 2020 semester and a decline of 1.4 percent, according to UL Lafayette.

“Continuing students remain a challenge,” Bowie explained. “Though our overall retention rate is at a record high, consecutive smaller freshmen classes several years ago have resulted in fewer continuing students. We’ve also had record-setting graduating classes in recent academic years. Both factors have affected our degree-seeking enrollment."

An additional 2,978 non-credit-bearing students bring UL Lafayette’s overall enrollment to 19,203. That’s 25 more students than last fall. The university says non-credit bearing students include those who take professional development and training courses and Continuing Education classes.

UL says their Fall 2021 census, which is taken on the 14th day of classes each fall semester and is reported to the Board of Regents and University of Louisiana System, showed that the number of Black students at UL Lafayette increased by 7.6% over last fall. Black students now make up nearly 22% of the student population, they say.

Students represent 63 parishes in Louisiana; 48 states, U.S. possessions and the District of Columbia; and 87 international countries.

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