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Enrollment data at Nicholls reveal higher caliber students

THIBODAUX – The academic quality of new students at Nicholls State University continued to increase between fall 2009 and fall 2010, according to enrollment data released today by the Nicholls administration.

The total number of first-time freshman students whose ACT composite scores were 28 or higher increased by 34 percent, while the average ACT score of full-time, first-time freshmen students increased from 21.56 to 22.1.

“Both figures are remarkable,” Larry Howell, special assistant to the president, said. “The boost in the average ACT score, in particular, is by far the biggest annual jump that I’ve seen. These figures illustrate not only that the regional K-12 systems are continuing to do an outstanding job preparing their graduates, but also that Nicholls continues to be the university of choice in our region.”

Howell said the increase in academic caliber among new students can also be attributed to the administration’s decision to tighten admissions standards one full year before the date mandated by the University of Louisiana System.

Another positive trend is the maintenance of racial diversity among first-time freshman students, which increased from 25.66 percent last year to 26.67 percent in fall 2010. Howell said the boost is “especially encouraging, given our more stringent admissions standards.”

The total enrollment at Nicholls in fall 2010 is 7,093 students – 1,218 of whom are first-time freshman students. While these figures represent decreases of 88 and 29, respectively, Howell said they are pleasant surprises, since the administration had earlier predicted decreases of approximately 120 and 75, respectively.

“We anticipated a dip in enrollment at Nicholls, given the strengthened admissions standards; the state-mandated budget cuts, which led to the recent elimination of eight academic programs and four concentrations; and the financial hardships of students as a result of the oil spill,” Howell said. “Indeed, we are pleased that our predictions were more severe than the actual numbers.”

For additional information, go to the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research webpage at www.nicholls.edu/ir/.

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