SFA reports highest enrollment in its history
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
9-17-09/SFA Office of Public Affairs
Stephen F. Austin State University has reported a fall student
enrollment of 12,845, surpassing last year’s figure of 11,990 by 7.1
percent and breaking the university’s all-time enrollment record set
almost two decades ago.
The number of SFA students attending classes
grew by 855 between fall 2008 and fall 2009, marking the seventh
consecutive reporting period with an enrollment increase. The highest
previous SFA enrollment was recorded in fall 1990 with 12,815 students.
“This record enrollment is a significant
achievement for SFA,” said Dr. Baker Pattillo, university president. “I
am thankful for the recruiting and retention efforts of our enrollment
management team, as well as the entire faculty and staff, which have
led to this historically high enrollment for the university. What a
great way to begin the academic year.”
SFA also recorded an increase in the retention
rate for first-time, full-time freshmen. The rate increased from 62.9
percent in fall 2008 to 65 percent in fall 2009. Increasing enrollment
and retention are among the major initiatives included in the
university’s latest strategic plan, which was adopted last year by the
Board of Regents.
“What is particularly gratifying is the fact
that we are experiencing increases at every level, freshmen through
doctoral students,” said Dr. Richard Berry, SFA provost and vice
president for academic affairs.
Undergraduate enrollment increased 7.1 percent,
from 10,404 last fall to 11,144. Graduate enrollment rose 7.3 percent,
from 1,586 to 1,701.
“I believe that our work on various initiatives
of our strategic plan is already paying off,” Berry said. “Additional
academic advisers, new degree programs, intensified work on the
first-year experience, increases in online course offerings,
opportunities for student engagement – all of these are helping us
attract and retain more students.”
The largest increase in enrollment was in the
James I. Perkins College of Education, which grew from 3,524 students
to 3,933, an 11.6-percent increase. The Perkins College remains the
largest at SFA and recently opened a new $30.8 million Early Childhood
Research Center. The state-of-the-art facility houses the nationally
accredited Early Childhood Laboratory, “exemplary” rated University
Charter School and award-winning Department of Elementary Education.
The second-largest College of Liberal and
Applied Arts had a 6.1-percent increase in enrollment, growing from
3,107 students in fall 2008 to 3,298 in fall 2009.
Enrollments in other colleges were: College of
Sciences and Mathematics, up 12 percent from 1,863 to 2,087; College of
Fine Arts, up 3.9 percent from 820 to 852; Arthur Temple College of
Forestry and Agriculture, up 1.2 percent from 661 to 669; and Nelson
Rusche College of Business, down .4 percent from 2,015 to 2,006.
Monique Cossich, executive director of
enrollment management, said various long-term recruiting initiatives,
including a re-tooled communication plan that reaches students as early
as the seventh grade, have resulted in the markedly upward trend in
enrollment. The newly adopted “Purple Promise,” which guarantees full
tuition for low-income students, aggressive outreach programs and a
more personal approach to recruiting new students also have
“The Board of Regents and administration had the
vision to improve the campus infrastructure with new residence halls, a
state-of-the-art recreation center and new academic facilities that are
unrivaled in the state of Texas,” she said. “A new freshman residence
hall and Freshman Success Center set to open in fall 2011 will further
enhance the first-year experience for our students, reflecting SFA’s
status as a premier university in the state of Texas.”