Arkansas State University continued its standing as the second largest college in the state by reporting a total enrollment on the 11th day of classes for fall 2021 of 13,772 to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education. The fall 2021 enrollment was essentially the same as the previous fall with notable gains in certain areas.
The total first-year students for the incoming Class of 2025 at A-State increased four percent over last fall with 1,632 new students on-campus in Jonesboro, via A-State Online and at Campus Queretaro in Mexico. This year’s class of first-year students was up 64 from last fall’s 1,568.
“After the challenges of last year, it is encouraging to see growth in the number of first-year students coming to A-State,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said. “We have worked hard as a university to prepare for students returning to campus this fall, and we know that our students prefer to be on-campus and in the classroom.
“At the same time, the uncertainties of both the economy and coronavirus led to a lot of students opting to take a year or a semester off. We are beginning to see those students return to higher education this fall.”
A-State also saw an increase in transfer students, with almost five percent more students enrolling from other colleges, with 770 transfer students compared to 735 last fall.
“It is another positive indicator as we see more students decide that A-State is a better fit for them, or that A-State is where they want to continue their educational pursuits after completing their associate’s degrees,” Damphousse said.
A-State also saw its international enrollment significantly rebound from fall 2020, as it welcomed 98 first-time students from around the world to Jonesboro in fall 2021, more than five times as many compared to the previous year.
“The last couple of years have been logistically difficult for our global students to come to America for coursework,” Damphousse said. “We know that we have a better on-campus experience when we embrace students from around the world, and both A-State and Jonesboro have a long tradition of welcoming international students.”
A growing number of new A-State freshmen opted for a fully-online undergraduate experience, which may reflect a growing comfort with virtual instruction and/or continued concern about the pandemic.
“One of the elements of the pandemic for high school students was virtual classrooms, and there is a growing segment of U.S. college freshman population who seem to feel more comfortable in an online environment this year. Time will tell if this is a temporary phenomenon,” Damphousse said. “These digital high school graduates share that interest in an online education with many of our returning adult degree completers and with a large number of our graduate students who are pursuing professional degrees while continuing to work. They prefer an online education, and we are proud that they are choosing A-State over the wide range of online options available.”
A-State Online continues to lead the state with the most 100 percent online students, with 4,679 total online students, 3,653 graduate and 1,026 undergraduates.
After graduating its first cohort of Red Wolves last month, A-State’s Campus Queretaro continued its five-year run of enrolling a record number of 317 first-year students, besting the fall 2020 record freshman class of 269.
Last fall A-State reported 13,843 students on the 11th day of the fall semester. The increased number of new students counter-balanced the record number of A-State graduates over the course of the past year, resulting in enrollment remaining essentially flat, down only 0.5 percent.