Southern University campuses boast ‘significant’ freshman class
SU System overall fall enrollment up
Targeted recruitment campaigns, an innovative alumni enrollment initiative, and creative recruitment strategies helped boost Fall 2015 enrollment for the Southern University System, said university officials in a news release.
Overall enrollment for the SU System increased by 490 students (12,884), nearly four percent.
Enrollment numbers show the overall enrollment for the SU System flagship campus in Baton Rouge increased by more than 200 students over the previous year.
The freshman class enrollment increased by 31 percent. A breakdown of the Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR) enrollment data indicates 6,389 students with 1,210 new freshmen.
“These figures are encouraging for a number of reasons. First, they signify the much-anticipated news that Southern University’s enrollment woes have bottomed out and that we are entering a new era of modest, yet consistent, enrollment growth. I am confident that 2015 marks the beginning of a new chapter in this institution’s history. Second, our enrollment increases will infuse more general fund and auxiliary dollars into the Baton Rouge campus to support academic instruction, research, student support services, and campus life programs,” said SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton.
Last year, the Baton Rouge campus began a recruiting campaign, “Pathway to Prominence,” that directly correlated to an influx of applications for admission. Campaign tour stops in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Texas allowed students to hear from University administrators and student government leaders, as well as hear and see the SU Jaguar Marching Band and cheerleaders perform.
The SU National Alumni Federation and the SU Foundation provided critical support for the SUBR Office of Admissions to hire three additional recruiters that are housed in Illinois, Georgia, and Texas.
“This year’s success is the result of the shared effort of Jaguars across the country. Southern University is witnessing the first significant enrollment gain in nearly a decade. Despite my satisfaction regarding our student count, it is what we cannot count that means the most to me. We will never be able to count the hours that students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners contributed to realizing this goal,” said Brandon K. Dumas, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, SUBR.
The SU Baton Rouge fall freshmen class comes from 30 states and the District of Columbia. The top five states are Louisiana, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and Florida. The top five declared majors include nursing, business management, criminal justice, biology, and mechanical engineering.
Southern University Shreveport’s (SUSLA) enrollment count for Fall 2015 is 3,174, compared to 2,952 last year, constituting a 7.1 percent increase in enrollment.
Recruitment efforts at the Shreveport campus also combine both traditional and new protocols. “Southern Sundays have proven to be beneficial,” said SUSLA enrollment management director Terrence Vinson.
The Southern Sundays initiative involves administrators, faculty, staff, and students attending local and regional churches to disseminate information about enrollment opportunities at SUSLA. Additionally, SUSLA has targeted recruitment of HiSet graduates. HiSet students are those students who have successfully completed the Educational Testing Service HISET® exam, the new alternative to the GED® test, which allows them to have a state-issued high school equivalency credential.
Southern University New Orleans (SUNO) fall enrollment stands at 2,704, compared to 2,674 for Fall 2014.
The 2,704 students include 210 first-time freshmen, a 45 percent increase from the Fall 2014 figure of 145. With the addition of 206 students enrolled at SUNO in a joint-program with SUSLA, close to 3,000 students are currently taking classes on both SUNO’s Park and Lake campuses.
“I am happy to report that we met our enrollment goals this year,” said SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo. “The increase is the result of the hard work demonstrated by our faculty, staff, and administrators to provide the best educational environment for incoming students.”
Bucking the trend of declining enrollment for law schools across the country, the Southern University Law Center (SULC) enrollment for Fall 2015 is 617, up by 37 students.
SULC Interim Chancellor John Pierre said the Law Center has implemented a number of strategies and programs for prospective students, to try to get them in the door.
“One important item the Law Center is emphasizing to prospective students is cost and value,” said Pierre. “Nationally, Southern still has one of the lowest tuition rates, but with an exceptional legal program for students that offers an experience that most other law schools can’t compete with.”
In addition to touting the value of their programs, SULC is offering enrollment options that will allow students greater flexibility and time to complete their degrees. One particular option is the part-time, day and evening program.