For the fourth consecutive reporting period, enrollment is on the rise at Stephen F. Austin State University. Student enrollment increased from 10,648 in spring 2008 to 11, 226, an increase of 5.4 percent.

State universities have kept a watchful eye on enrollment numbers during the past few semesters because funding from the state hangs in the balance, according to Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA president. The spring semester is the final semester of the base-funding period, which determines university funding for the next two years.

"This is the first time since the 1982-1983 base funding period that SFA has had increases in enrollment for four consecutive enrollment periods in a base year," Pattillo said. "That is exciting news for the university and is a reflection of the efforts being made to recruit and retain students. We appreciate the work of the admissions office and faculty and staff across campus who are working diligently with our students to ensure their academic success."

Undergraduate enrollment increased 5.6 percent, from 9,084 last spring to 9,591. Graduate enrollment rose 4.5 percent, from 1,564 to 1,635.

The largest increase in enrollment was in the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, which grew from 2,774 students to 2,938, a 5.9-percent increase. The College of Fine Arts had a 10.4-percent increase in enrollment, growing from 711 students in spring 2008 to 785 in spring 2009. The James I. Perkins College of Education remains the largest college on the campus with 3,458 students, up 4.3 percent from last spring's enrollment of 3,315.

Enrollments in the other colleges were: Nelson Rusche College of Business, up 6.7 percent, from 1,740 to 1,857; College of Sciences and Mathematics, up 6.1 percent, from 1,484 to 1,574; and the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, down 1.6 percent, from 624 to 614.

In the summer of 2008, SFA introduced a 12-day term, called May-mester, to help boost enrollment and expand opportunities for students to earn additional credit hours during the summer months.

"May-mester was a resounding success, popular with both faculty and students," Pattillo said. "We were so pleased with the results, we will offer that option again this May."

A three-credit-hour course in May-mester will meet for 3 hours and 15 minutes each day, Monday through Friday, beginning May 18. Final exams will be held June 3.