LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When students move into the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s campus this fall, they’ll be more boxes, bags, and students than last year, which the university says will be the first time in a long time that’s happened.
“We’ve had declining enrollment for about a decade,” Dr. Cody Decker, UA Little Rock vice chancellor of student affairs, admitted.
But for the first time in years, the school announced is predicting growth in its first-time freshman and transfer students for the 2022-2023 school year. First-year freshmen students are anticipated to increase by about 20%, while transfer students are on-target to see an increase of about 10%.
This is not something that happens overnight. UA Little Rock, like many universities, saw a big drop off of students leading up to 2020, but in the Fall of 2020 the Trojans cut that growing deficit in half, and now they are finally going back in a positive direction.
“To me, the secret sauce is listening to the students,” Dr. Decker stated.
Before the pandemic, he said typically based their school of choice on reputation, degree programs offered, then value.
Post pandemic Decker said, “I won’t say it’s flipped, but value seems to be near the top consistently in student conversations.”
Students our station spoke with on campus agreed, that admitting cost was a factor for them.
UA Little Rock Senior Derica Miller said, “Of course college isn’t cheap. It’s an investment, but you still want to make costly investments.”
Scholarships allowed Steven Gutierrez to afford his degree at UA Little Rock. He’s currently pursuing a graduate degree.
Through scholarships, freshman students, who Dr. Decker explained don’t receive any other scholarships, can qualify for half-off tuition.
“More scholarship opportunities make students come here,” Gutierrez explained. Scholarships allowed him to transfer.
He added, “It’s free money for students so take advantage of that.”
There are other things the university is pointing toward helping to bring in students such as their modern on-campus housing. Currently, applications and room assignments for housing are up more than 10%.
“Students who live on campus are more involved and are more likely to achieve their education goals,” said Decker. “Additionally, prospective students are very impressed by our campus housing. We have multiple options for students to select from including private rooms, suites, apartments and pod-style accommodations.”
While UA Little Rock is expecting growth, there is still room to join the incoming class, and there are still scholarship opportunities available for new students. Those interested in attending UA Little Rock should apply soon by visiting apply.ualr.edu.