NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University has recorded its highest enrollment in a decade with 11,990 students, a 3.3-percent increase from last fall.

SFA enrollment increased by 383 students between Fall 2007 and Fall 2008, marking the largest increase in fall enrollment since 1983. In addition, the number of new students attending SFA for the first time increased by 312, or 8.3 percent.

"Building enrollment at SFA is a team effort, and we are grateful for the many initiatives by student services and the various academic and administrative departments to attract quality students to SFA," said Monique Cossich, executive director of enrollment management at the university. "The substantial increase in enrollment we have seen this fall is a direct result of those coordinated efforts."

Dr. Baker Pattillo, president of SFA, also attributed the enrollment increase to hard work by employees in all areas of the university.

"I am very grateful to Monique Cossich and the Admissions Office staff, as well as administrators from across campus, for the hard work that led to the increase in enrollment," he said. "I realize that many faculty and staff members also work hard to recruit top-quality students, and I really appreciate their efforts, as well."

Enrollment increases also were recorded during both summer sessions at SFA. Funding for state universities is based on enrollment, so the increase is especially significant from a budgeting perspective, Pattillo said.

"This is a base year for funding, so our enrollment this fall is very important. The funding cycle ends with Spring 2009 enrollment, and we are hopeful that we will see another semester of positive growth for the university."

The number of undergraduate students at SFA increased by 2.9 percent, from 10,106 to 10,404, while the number of graduate students increased 5.7 percent, from 1,501 to 1,586.

The James I. Perkins College of Education increased by 164 students, from 3,360 in Fall 2007 to 3,524 this fall, a 4.9-percent jump. The College of Fine Arts' enrollment increased 8.2 percent, from 758 students in Fall 2007 to 820 this fall.

In the College of Business, enrollment increased 4.4 percent, from 1,931 to 2,015. The Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture increased from 648 students to 661, a 2-percent increase, while the College of Liberal and Applied Arts increased 4.5 percent, from 2,973 students to 3,107. The College of Sciences and Mathematics decreased 3.8 percent, from 1,937 students to 1,863.

Increasing both undergraduate and graduate enrollment at SFA is one of six major initiatives included in the university's new strategic plan, which was approved by the SFA Board of Regents in July.