To: Nicholls State University Faculty and Staff
From: Stephen T. Hulbert, President
Late in the summer, university projections called for a significant enrollment decline, which at the time, was seen as reaching as high as 6% percent or approximately 400 students. Through extraordinary efforts, the actual fall enrollment is significantly more than anticipated.
Fall 2006 14th class day has passed and the numbers are official. The fall 2006 official enrollment is 6,814, which is down 72 students from last fall’s enrollment without the 645 displaced students from Hurricane Katrina. Implementation of the Board of Regents Master Plan took its full effect with this entering class. Last summer, students were allowed to enter as freshmen without meeting standards since the implementation was scheduled for the fall 2005 semester.
This fall’s first-time freshman class total is 1,119, down 182, which was expected with this full implementation of the Master Plan. As has been the case for the past couple of years, we have a much more academically prepared class entering the university. Among this class are 48 valedictorians, up from 40 last year. The average composite ACT score for this class is 20.92, up 2.0% from last year’s 20.51. Over half of the class is currently receiving the TOPS scholarship (50.2%).
Our fall 2005 entering class fared well, even with the effects of the hurricanes. The fall-to-fall retention rate of last year’s entering class is up to 63.4%. The most significant increase was in African American students whose retention rate increased over 13% to 62.45%. The TOPS students’ retention rate is 75%. We have also retained 92.5% of last year’s valedictorian scholarship recipients (37 of 40).
Overall, enrollment is down in the freshman class only. With the improvements in retention, we currently have a larger sophomore, junior and senior class than we did last year. We also had an 11% increase in graduate students due to a 14.7% increase in graduate programs in the College of Education. The total number of TOPS recipients we have currently enrolled continues to climb even with enrollment dropping. We currently have 1,755 students receiving TOPS, of our undergraduate enrollment. Last year, we had 1,690, 26.9% of the undergraduate enrollment was TOPS students. A detailed enrollment report can be found at the following web site: http://www.nicholls.edu/ir/Publications/Enroll%20Stats%20Fa06.pdf
Although total enrollment is slightly down, we are definitely moving in the right direction. The constantly improving student body and improved retention rates all point to continued development of Nicholls State University as a premier institution serving the citizens of our region and beyond.