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University enrollment, academic strength of freshmen class increase again

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For the third consecutive year, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette set an enrollment record and saw the academic preparedness of its freshman class climb.

Overall enrollment for the Fall 2016 semester is 19,188.

Enrollment in degree-seeking programs is 17,614, which is 106 more students than Fall 2015. Though a modest gain over last year, the number represents a three-year 5 percent enrollment increase following a 1 percent dip that occurred when UL Lafayette implemented tougher academic admissions standards in 2012.

“As a result of changes we made four years ago, UL Lafayette has grown into a stronger academic institution,” said Dr. DeWayne Bowie, the University’s vice president for Enrollment Management. “With our current admissions criteria, we’ve attracted better-prepared students while growing our enrollment each year.”

The Fall 2016 freshman class, the third largest in school history, has 3,024 students. It also has a record number of high school valedictorians and is the most academically prepared incoming class.

More than 160 valedictorians are enrolled as freshmen, a 44 percent increase over last years’ unsurpassed total of 111. Also, 626 first-time freshmen enrolled in the University’s Honors Program, which is 89 percent more than the 332 first-time freshmen who joined last year.

The freshman class has the best-ever, high school cumulative GPA – 3.39 – and highest average ACT composite score, 23.87.

“Attracting quality students from near and far is a testament to UL Lafayette’s wider-known reputation as a premier academic and research institution,” said Bowie.

He noted that the number of transfer students, as well as applicants from out of the area, is on the rise.

Students transferring into UL Lafayette from two- and four-year colleges increased by 17 percent.

The University had a 5 percent increase in applications from the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas, which already had more than 20 percent gains the previous year. There was a 14 percent jump in applications from Texas, and a 25 percent increase from the Gulf Coast states from Mississippi to Florida.

“While our plan is to enhance recruitment efforts locally, and we did that with an 11 percent increase in applications from Lafayette Parish, we are also focused on continually expanding into other markets in Louisiana, the U.S. and abroad,” said Bowie.

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