Record Fall Enrollment for AR Universities

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - As Fall enrollment numbers come in, some Arkansas universities are smashing records.

In Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas says it welcomed 27,558 students to campus for the fall 2017 semester, a new record for enrollment. This marks the 19th consecutive year for enrollment growth at the U of A, but the 1.3 percent growth rate is considerably slower than the 12.3 percent growth over the past 5 years.

In Arkadelphia, Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) marked one of its largest year-to-year freshman class increases in recent history.

OBU welcomed 448 first-time freshmen to campus this fall – a 17.9 percent gain over the previous year’s incoming class.

Ouachita’s total fall enrollment of 1,545 students compares to 1,517 last year. Top majors among incoming freshmen include biology, business administration, communications, kinesiology and psychology as well as Christian studies and elementary education. Two-thirds of incoming students are from Arkansas and 22 percent are from Texas.

In Magnolia, Southern Arkansas University has enrolled a record freshman class for the fifth straight year, but that's not the only record reached this fall.

Officials say about 870 freshmen chose SAU this fall, up from last year’s all-time record. This group of students led to SAU’s all-time largest sophomore class. Plus, the overall undergraduate enrollment surpassed record numbers at around 3,450.

In Searcy, Harding University's total undergraduate enrollment for 2017 is 4,185. The number of first-time-in-college freshmen is 945, and graduate and professional students bring the total enrollment to 5,541.

Harding University has also announced a continuation of its positive trends for student retention at 83 percent and recorded its second highest ever overall graduation rate at 66 percent. The 2016-17 school year brought the largest number of graduates in school history, conferring 68 more bachelor’s degrees than the previous year. 

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