THIBODAUX — First-time freshmen enrolled at Nicholls State University are better prepared for college than ever, according to official enrollment statistics for the fall 2013 semester.
These beginning students had an average ACT composite score of 21.75, topping last year’s average of 21.36. That’s also well above the state average of 19.5, and the national average of 20.9.
In addition, 8.7 percent more first-time freshmen entering Nicholls are receiving TOPS awards, which are available to all Louisiana students who earn a high school GPA of 2.5 or greater and a composite score of at least 20 on the ACT. Over 62 percent of the university’s first-time freshmen are now receiving TOPS. Overall, 2.2 percent more undergraduate students at Nicholls will receive TOPS this fall.
Enrollment was slightly down at Nicholls this fall at 6,540 students, 66 fewer students than 2012. The decline resulted from an increase in university graduation rates.
“Last year, Nicholls graduated its biggest class in history, awarding 1,342 degrees to 1,271 graduates — the first year the university has ever awarded more than 1,300 degrees,” said Nicholls Interim President Larry Howell. “Enrollment is leaner, but our new students are better positioned for academic success than ever before.”
The university’s new Nicholls Online degree program grew, with 174 students registered for the fall. Launched in January, Nicholls Online is designed to provide a flexible and affordable option for students who have difficulty attending traditional on-campus classes. Currently, seven degrees are offered through the program with more planned for the future.
Graduate student enrollment is also up at Nicholls thanks to the university’s new Master of Science in Nursing program, which began last spring. The program brought 40 new graduate students to Nicholls, increasing graduate enrollment by 9.1 percent from fall 2012.
The departments that experienced the greatest growth this year were physical sciences, which saw an enrollment increase of 42.9 percent, and mathematics, with a 23.7 percent increase. Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management increased by more than 60 students.
Fall 2013 enrollment statistics are posted online at nicholls.edu/ir.