NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University has recorded a spring enrollment of 11,623 students.
This figure represents a slight decrease from the enrollment of 11,812 recorded in spring 2013. University officials attributed the 1.6-percent decrease to various factors, including higher SFA admission standards and graduation of the largest class in school history last May.
"A strategic decision was made several years ago to increase the admission standards for the university beginning in fall 2012, and we knew one result of that decision would be a few years of smaller incoming freshman classes," explained Monique Cossich, executive director of enrollment management. "We have, in fact, experienced those reductions, and that is one reason for the slight decreases in enrollment we are experiencing."
Fall 2013 enrollment was 12,772, down 1.7 percent from fall 2012. The absence of the largest graduating class in SFA history - 1,285 diplomas were awarded in May 2013 - also has contributed to the slight reduction in enrollment at SFA, according to Cossich.
"We always hope to replenish the graduates with incoming students, but the combination of a record-breaking graduating class last spring and a decrease in freshman enrollment this year due to the higher admission standards has resulted in a slightly lower enrollment this academic year," she said. "We expect freshman enrollment to pick up in the future after the higher admission standards have been in place for a while longer."
According to the census report, freshman enrollment decreased by 59 students or 2.5 percent from spring 2013 to spring 2014. There are 2,312 freshmen enrolled at SFA, along with 2,227 sophomores, 2,489 juniors and 2,927 seniors, combining for a total undergraduate enrollment of 9,955 students. Graduate enrollment at SFA decreased 1.5 percent from spring 2013 to spring 2014 with 1,668 students enrolled in advanced degree programs.
The university also reported the following enrollments by college: Nelson Rusche College of Business, 1,506; James I. Perkins College of Education, 4,029; College of Fine Arts, 773; Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, 656; College of Liberal and Applied Arts, 2,595; and College of Sciences and Mathematics, 2,064.
Recently, the Department of Computer Science moved from business to sciences and mathematics, which contributed to enrollment fluctuations in those two colleges, according to Karyn Hall, director of SFA's Office of Institutional Research.
"In addition, a university-wide weather closure on Jan. 24 pushed the scheduled census date one day later in the spring semester than originally planned," she said. "So any data comparisons involving this term should consider this scheduling adjustment, as well."