ASU official explains slightly low fall enrollment

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Arkansas State University's fall enrollment is down slightly compared to last year.

There hasbeen a slight drop in enrollment this year at Arkansas State University inJonesboro. The school announced on Wednesday that they are about 300 studentsshort compared to last school year.

Dr. RickStripling, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said they knew there would beyears where the population would grow, and times where it would go down.

"We hadlooked at increasing our academic standards over a period of several years andso the last five years we have been doing that," Stripling said.

He said most of the loss in enrollment comes from areas not on theactual campus.

"We see alot of that actually is in degree centers that are actually not here on thecampus and we see some of that in the online graduate level that's in Arkansasonly," Stripling said.

But hesaid the head count is not taken into consideration when it comes to the school'sfunding.

"The FTEcount is down about .08 percent which is a very minimum as far as that goes," he said. "They usethat as a part of the funding, that's what we look at is to say okay here ishow we prepare out budget and how we operate this university budget."

He said they also have to look at the number of graduates from past years.

"In '07-'08 wegraduated a little over 2,000 students, if you look at this last year wegraduated nearly 4,000 students in one year."

Even thoughtthe university is short a few hundred students, the Freshmen class is alreadyturning heads.

"We see thehighest number in our GPA of our Freshmen class," Stripling said. "Our retention rate is 73.1 percent which is agreat number when you look at the state average at 68 percent."

Striplingsaid the administration has been working to improve the quality of students whoattend ASU so their success is even greater.

"ArkansasState University is attracting students of high quality who have very stronginterests in the academic strength of the university."

ASU has about 13,500 students enrolled for the fall semester.

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