To: The University Community
From: Stephen T. Hulbert, President
Recent print media coverage has noted the Spring 2006 enrollment for Nicholls State University. As anticipated, that enrollment declined by 6.0 percent, from 6,922 students to 6,504. The raw data previously has been shared within the University-community and may be accessed at www.nicholls.edu on the Nicholls website.
With the transition to selective admissions last fall, followed by the devastating impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Nicholls first saw a decline in new freshmen and then hosted 645 visiting students who had lost their home and/or home institution. The University also lost 570 of its own students who had been impacted by the hurricanes in one way or another.
This spring, of the 645 visiting students served by the University in the aftermath of the storms, 115 returned as Nicholls students. Additionally, 147 of the 570 Nicholls students who resigned last fall have now returned to the campus. We remain hopeful that more of these resigned students will return to the University as they get their affairs back in order. Involved administrative personnel are working to assist these students in their effort to resume their studies.
The largest decrease in the Spring 2006 enrollment was in the freshman class. With enrollment standards, we admitted 348 fewer freshmen into the fall entering class. For the spring semester, we admitted 176 new freshmen, down 26 from last year’ 202. The good news is these students are more academically prepared than last year’, with an average ACT of 19.29 compared to 17.24 in 2005. The sophomore class is up 121 students to 1,441 from last year’s 1320, while the junior and senior classes showed a slight decrease. Graduate enrollment shows a decrease of 20, from 645 to 625 (3.1%). As a note, we had 20 more graduate students complete their degree studies during fall 2005 commencement compared to the previous fall.
Retention of all first-time entering freshmen is down slightly from 82.72% to 81.31%. If we look at those who are receiving the TOPS scholarship, we see a significant increase in the retention of those students, from 87.74% to 88.84%. Retention of African American students is up once again, from 82.70% to 82.90%. That retention rate surpasses the figure for all other students, which declined from 82.50% to 81.04%.
The decrease in enrollment was felt across many academic departments. However, a few departments managed to increase enrollment despite the overall decline in university enrollment. The undergraduate enrollment in Applied Sciences (11.5%), Accounting and Business Law (1.3%), Economics and Finance (15.7%), and Family and Consumer Sciences (1.1%) reflected increases. Enrollment decreases in undergraduate programs were more significant in the following areas: History and Social Sciences (-13.4%), Physical Sciences (-37.5%), Management and Marketing (-22.1%), and General Studies (-22.0%). Graduate enrollment improved in the College of Arts and Sciences (32.1%) and in the College of Education (2.3%), and decreased in the College of Business Administration (-17.8%).
Again, for more detail on the Spring 2006 enrollment, please go to http://www.nicholls.edu/ir/Publications/Enr%20Stats%20Sp06.pdf on the Nicholls website.