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News Family Weekend Special
Enrollment reaches record numbers

DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
A mass of students walk near the Student Union Memorial Center on the first day of school. This academic semester, enrollment reached its highes level.
By Andrea Kelly
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 10, 2003

Enrollment this year at the UA has reached its highest ever with 37,083 students, which includes a record number of freshmen and Hispanic students.

The record enrollment follows a tuition increase of $1,000, which caused some last year to worry that overall enrollment and minority enrollment would drop.

"I don't think we'd have had the enrollment if we had not used the extra tuition for financial aid," said Rick Kroc, director of the office of assessment and enrollment research.

Patti Ota, vice president of enrollment management, said that the increase in Hispanic enrollment could be attributed to an "investment in financial aid and good recruiting efforts aimed at Hispanic communities."

One of President Peter Likins‰ goals for the university is to be recognized as a Hispanic serving institution.

In order for the school to reach this standing, 25 percent of the student population must be Hispanic.

"Our first responsibility is to meet the needs of the state of Arizona. The state has a significant Hispanic population. Therefore, we must be seen as a comfortable place for Hispanic students to come and get degrees," Ota said. "How soon we can get there (to 25 percent) is not the issue. The issue is that we are seen as an institution Hispanic students want to come to," Ota said.

Those students already on campus have noticed the large enrollment.

I don't think we'd have had the enrollment if we had not used the extra tuition for financial aid.

- Rick Kroc director of the office of assessment and enrollment research


"It's more crowded definitely," said Ian Johnson, English education junior. "Just being in the union midday, that's the time I notice it most."

The increase is also apparent during the registration process, said Matthew Myles, international business junior.

"It's been a little bit of a pain," Myles said. "Via WebReg, it's impossible."

He described lines as long as 20 students waiting for teachers to add them in to classes with the drop/add form at the beginning of the year.

Last year the Arizona Board of Regents changed a policy that will allow the UA to have more control over who is admitted.

In 2006, the UA will only be required to admit the top 25 percent of Arizona high school classes, and the next 25 percent will be admitted only after the university evaluates them on an individual basis.

Administrators have said that the UA must begin managing its enrollment because the UA campus is beginning to reach capacity.

"We absolutely need that flexibility because we can't keep growing unconditionally," Ota said.

Also, administrators have said that managing enrollment will allow the UA to focus on retention by allowing them to admit those students who have a chance of staying and succeeding at the UA.

The current retention rate for freshmen is at 77 percent, Kroc said. This means that about a quarter of freshmen leave the school after their first year.

Retention is important, Ota said. The university does not want students leaving after their first year. Also, an improvement in retention alone will contribute to rising enrollment in the future.

"If you assume we bring in the same number of freshmen, that translates into more sophomores if retention improves, and there will be more continuing students. Over a four-year period, the size of the student body will increase," Ota said.

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