UA Little Rock see decrease in enrollment since Fall

Local News

LITTLER ROCK, Ark. — Although there aren’t many students seen on the campus of The University of Arkansas Little Rock’s campus, university officials said their Fall 2020 enrollment surpasses their initial projections.

“We were super excited about that,” UA – Little Rock Director of Admissions, Chelsea Ward said. “We worked really hard this year to try to minimize that as much as possible in the miss of a pandemic.

Ward said the university has been working hard to keep college students registered for school.

“We talked with colleagues across the state from other two years, four year public/private universities and colleges and they’re seeing kind of the same trend right now,” Ward said.

UA-Little Rock isn’t the only place seeing the effects of COVID-19 several other college campuses like Arkansas State reported a decrease.

There’s around 8,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies students enrolled this fall at UA-Little Rock but it’s down more than 5 percent since Last Fall.

“We did a lot of different things this year to try to minimize that.. before COVID-19 hit and so I think that helped out a lot,” Ward said.

There is an increase in a particular department. The School of Law saw a 6 percent uptick for applications and admissions, which is more than they were expecting in the middle of a pandemic.

Earlier this year the university had budget cuts but they hope to continue to do better.

“Trying to keep going and I know that our Chancellor, Chancellor Drale is making the best decisions possible,” said Chelsea Ward the Director of Admissions.

Here’s the full release from the University:

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has an undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies enrollment of 8,063 students for the fall 2020 semester, which represents a 5.5 percent decline from fall 2019. Enrollment at the William H. Bowen School of Law has continued to grow with an increased enrollment of 6 percent from fall 2019, while SSCH is up by 8 percent. These figures exclude high school concurrent students.  

While overall enrollment is down across many college campuses due to COVID-19, UA Little Rock is outperforming its COVID-19 enrollment projections by 4.4 percent. UA Little Rock’s fall enrollment exceeded both the original fall 2020 and the revised COVID-19 enrollment projections.

“Reversing an almost decade-old enrollment decline will take some time, but we are already seeing positive results from joint efforts across the university to execute the strategic enrollment management plan,” said Dr. Cody Decker, vice chancellor for student affairs and chief data officer. 

Overall Student Semester Credit Hours (SSCH) are down by 3.9 percent, which is 5.8 percent better than projections. UA Little Rock received an increase in undergraduate and graduate applications and admittances among students. Applications were up by 12.7 percent, while admissions increased by 6.1 percent. 

This increase in admissions and surpassing enrollment and SSCH projections are attributed to improvements in retention, recruitment, and marketing strategies as well as streamlining of processes in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

“The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has made strides in improving student communications as well as streamlining financial aid processes,” said Jonathan Coleman, director of financial aid and scholarships. “This is evidenced by an increase in both applications and awards for freshman merit and transfer student scholarships, which resulted in a 67 percent increase in scholarship offers for fall 2020.”

Undergraduate scholarship applications also increased by the announcement of an anonymous $25 million gift in May, which provided $15 million for need-based undergraduate student scholarships over the next five years. UA-Little Rock saw a record-breaking number of 2,070 undergraduate scholarship applications for the fall.  

“Scholarships are now more important than ever during this time of economic downturn when our students are facing increased personal and financial needs,” said Chancellor Christina Drale. “This transformational gift and new strategic measures have allowed us to provide much needed support and pathways for student success.” 

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