Total enrollment at the University of Central Arkansas is up over the same time a year ago, according to figures released this week.
“This is very encouraging,” President Tom Courtway said Thursday. “The reason it’s important is it tells me that more students are choosing to return to UCA for the spring.”
UCA has 10,147 total students this spring, compared to 9,998 students the school had a year ago. That’s a 1.5 percent increase, according to Amber Hall, director of Institutional Research at UCA.
The spring figures mean more tuition and fee revenue for UCA, Courtway said.
Officials and faculty at UCA are watching enrollment numbers and retention rates in the hopes of including a cost-of-living adjustment in the next fiscal budget, but Courtway said the recent figures might not be used in planning the next school year budget. UCA always budgets with the expectation of a flat enrollment, but that has not yet been determined, he said.
UCA has watched its fall enrollment numbers decline and then stagnate in the past few years, according to documents the university released this past fall.
This spring, UCA had 7,833 full-time students and 2,314 part-time students. UCA had 458 International or nonresident alien students and 1,490 graduate students, records show. Courtway told the Faculty Senate last month the numbers are an improvement over enrollment figures from previous springs.
Of the 2,130 full-time, degree-seeking, first-time freshmen who started this past fall, 1,872 re-enrolled, Hall said.
Enrollment figures statewide are not yet available, said Brandi Hinkle, spokeswoman for the state higher education department.
Courtway said he is also looking at retention rates for UCA. Courtway said he hopes to improve UCA’s ability to keep students in school. Between fall 2012 and this spring, UCA had a 87.8 percent retention rate, about the same as a year ago, Hall wrote in email.
Courtway said UCA started a pilot program this past fall to reach out to freshmen who aren’t off to a good start socially or academically and help them stay in school.