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Graduate School continues to experience enrollment growth

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Graduate school enrollment is climbing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Fall 2020 graduate school enrollment is 2,430 students and marks a 46% growth over the past five years. UL Lafayette had 1,521 graduate students in Fall 2016.

Enrollment grew by 100 students between Fall 2019 and this semester. Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, dean of the Graduate School, attributed the jump to the continued growth of online delivery of the MBA program and to increased retention rates across the University’s nearly 50 master’s and doctoral degree curriculums.

“The phenomenal enrollment progress we’ve seen reflects an institutional commitment to graduate education and to graduate students and faculty,” she said.

“We continue to add new graduate programs and to expand existing programs, such as the master’s in accounting, into online and executive formats that appeal to professionals who are looking to grow in their careers.”

UL Lafayette’s overall Fall 2020 undergraduate enrollment is 14,020 students, including 2,338 first-time freshmen. This year’s freshman class:

  • includes 120 high school valedictorians, a 10% increase over last fall;
  • averaged a 3.4 cumulative GPA while in high school; and
  • scored an average 23.26 on the ACT.

An additional 2,728 non-degree-seeking students brings UL Lafayette’s overall Fall 2020 enrollment to 19,178. That figure reflects a 1.1% decrease over last fall’s overall enrollment of 19,403.

But, when dual enrollment figures are reported next month, the University anticipates a stable Fall 2020 enrollment that’s comparable to last year’s.

Dual enrollment students are high school juniors and seniors who take courses and earn college credits while still in high school. The University expects an uptick among these students this semester.

Louisiana’s public colleges and universities take a census of full- and part-time students on the 14th day of classes each fall semester, said Dr. DeWayne Bowie, UL Lafayette’s vice president for Enrollment Management. The totals are reported to the Louisiana Board of Regents and, in the case of UL Lafayette, to the University of Louisiana System as well.

“The census does more than compile enrollment totals. It also provides the University with a snapshot of who our students are and what key metrics we’ve met as an institution over the past year. That information in turn enables us to ensure that we’re providing academic programs and support services that fuel student success,” Bowie explained.

For example, the fall census shows the University increased its overall student retention rate by 4 percentage points, from 75% in Fall 2019 to 79% this semester.

“Student retention is a national challenge at which we’re excelling,” Bowie said.

The Fall 2020 census also shows:

  • an increase in the number of freshmen who are first-generation college students, from 29.1% last year to 29.9% this fall;
  • the number of Hispanic students increased by 3.3% over last fall. Hispanic students now make up 5.8% of the student body;
  • the number of Black students increased by 1.8% over last fall. Black students now comprise 20.2% of the total student population;
  • 57% of students are female, while 43% are male; and
  • students who hail from 63 parishes in Louisiana; 51 states, U.S. possessions and the District of Columbia; and 88 countries.

Photo caption: Students study earlier this month in Edith Garland Dupre Library on the UL Lafayette campus. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas/University of Louisiana at Lafayette)