The number of first-time freshmen enrolled at the University of Central Arkansas this fall jumped 10 percent over last year, officials said recently.
Those numbers are near the earlier-released figures from August.
This year’s freshman class is up to 2,157 students, according to preliminary enrollment data for the 10th day of classes. Total first-time undergraduate enrollment is up 197 students over the 1,960 mark in 2011. The increase marks the third straight year the first-time undergraduate enrollment has increased at UCA.
Last year, the number of freshmen jumped about 6 percent over the 2010 fall semester.
Despite the increase in the entering freshman, overall, total enrollment at UCA fell by 55 students — down from 11,163 in fall 2011 to 11,108 this fall, UCA documents show. The university lost ground in international students and graduate students enrolling at UCA.
Despite the third straight year of strong freshmen enrollment, the total enrollment at UCA has remained declined over the same time period, records show. UCA President Tom Courtway said Friday that he thought lack of improvement in the total enrollment figures would change.
"Over the past 18 months, we have been working on a comprehensive enrollment management strategy. We have started to implement the plan, and we are seeing the results, especially in our first-time undergraduate numbers," Courtway said. "Moving forward, we will be doing more work on retention of these students and our graduate and international enrollment as well."
Graduate student enrollment is 1,503, about 31 fewer graduate students than in the fall of 2011, according to preliminary numbers. International student enrollment is 528 this fall as compared to 623 in 2011.
In other business, the board:
• accepted the bid of United Healthcare for the university’s health insurance. The move means no rate increases or changes in coverage for employees and USAble for life and long-term disability insurance with a five percent reduction in rates. The university had budgeted about $550,000 for health care costs that were expected to increase this year.
• authorized a bond issue of $12.5 million for the purchase of Bear Village Apartments from the UCA Foundation
• entered into a $99,000 contract through Aug. 16, 2015 with Digital Measures to provide information related to the university’s faculty and staff teaching, research and service activities;
• appointed board member Victor Green, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Maurice Lee and alumnus Manny Sepulveda to the Diversity Advisory Committee;
• appointed board chair Bobby Reynolds to the university’s Strategic Planning Committee;
• made changes to the makeup of the committees for the Assistance Program for Students with Exceptional Circumstances and the Audit Committee.
• voted to spend money from the trustees’ discretionary fund on several recommendations of the President’s Residence Committee, including $13,500 for renovation of the downstairs bathroom to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act; $6,500 to create an outside entrance from the study; $3,500 for four panels of living room drapes; and $7,000 in maintenance for a large oak tree in the back yard. Others of the committee’s recommendations will be addressed at a later meeting.