Central Baptist College and the University of Central Arkansas started the fall semester on Thursday.

CBC President Terry Kimbrow reported a record enrollment with preliminary numbers showing 398 traditional students and 220 enrolled in the PACE program.

"That puts us well over 600, compared to 550 last year," Kimbrow said. It is the school’s first time to ever break 600 in enrollment.

"It will be by far a record in traditional enrollment, and the first time total enrollment is over 600. It is a fantastic enrollment," Kimbrow said. "All of our programs are up. It’s pretty well across the board. Housing is full. Parking is stretched to the limit. (They are) good challenges, though. Ones we’re excited to meet."

Dr. Allen Meadors, president of UCA, said, "Things are going well. Everybody seems to be really positive and upbeat, other than a little rain this morning. A great group of freshman and transfers."

He said while exact enrollment numbers will not be available until Sept. 11, he estimated enrollment at 12,000. While the number does reflect a decrease from previous years, Meadors said the university is receiving about the same amount in tuition and fees.

The university cut concurrent enrollment in half. Also eliminated was a one-hour seminar which, Meadors said, students paid nothing or little to enroll in.

"We might be down a couple hundred paying customers, but that’s not bad, considering last year we did very little marketing and recruiting," he said. The university cut its marketing budget and did not do any recruiting after January, he said.

Meadors said the new college of business building is on course and scheduled to be occupied by Christmas with classes taking place in January. He said he is looking forward to the athletics season as well.

"It is my 51st day on the job — real excited about the school year and the fact we have been blown away by the quality of academic programs and the quality of faculty and the educational experience we can give students here at UCA," he said.

(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at rachel.dickerson@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)