Record retention rates, freshman class boost Nicholls enrollment

THIBODAUX, La. — Record-high retention rates and the largest freshman class in more than a decade have increased enrollment at Nicholls State University for the third consecutive year.  

Nicholls welcomed 6,488 students this fall, an increase of 122 students, or 1.9 percent.

A record-high freshmen retention rate of 71.4 percent continues a trend of historically high retention rates at Nicholls. Dating back to 2010, retention rates at Nicholls have been at least 68 percent every year except one.

An emphasis on reaching out to underrepresented students is one factor generating the university’s successful retention. This Fall, first-generation student retention rate rose from 66.5 percent to 73.7 percent.

“Over the last few years, we’ve placed an emphasis on mentoring and advising. These numbers show that those efforts are paying off as our students are finding their role, and they are thriving,” said Dr. Sue Westbrook, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The 1,301 first-time freshmen is a 6.5 percent increase over 2017, and the largest number since 2005, also 1,301.

This freshmen class is the most accomplished ever at Nicholls, with an average composite ACT score of 22.44 and 64 valedictorian scholarship awards. Both are also records at Nicholls.

At 71.8 percent, a record-high amount of freshmen are receiving the Taylor Opportunity Scholarship, up from 62.8 percent last fall.

“Students today have more information and resources than ever when it comes to selecting where they want to go to college, and we are honored they have chosen to make Nicholls their next home,” said Alex Arceneaux, executive vice president for enrollment and external affairs. “Louisiana students can see the value of a Nicholls degree and the positive momentum taking place on our campus, and they want to be a part of that movement.”

Among the notable increases in programs, allied health increased by 78 students, or 24.5 percent; nursing, which expanded its program last year, increased by 63 students, or 7.1 percent; and social sciences, which added the criminal justice degree this fall, increased by 40 students, a 29.2 percent increase.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print