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HAMMOND – New freshmen at Southeastern Louisiana University increased by 3.7 percent, while overall enrollment for fall 2013 showed a 4.2 percent decrease over the previous year, university officials said today.
The decrease in student headcount from 15,602 in 2012 to 14,949 students was largely expected by the university and resulted from non-returning students.
"We had anticipated a slight decline in overall enrollment this fall," said President John L. Crain, "and that contributed to our need to reduce the budget for this fiscal year."
Crain said surveys of non-returning students indicated various factors, but finances and the rising costs of tuition were among the reasons cited.
"As the state has reduced its allocations to colleges and universities, we have been forced to increase our tuition by 10 percent each year for the past several years," he said. "While our tuition remains relatively low compared to other institutions in Louisiana and other states, this shift in costs from the state to our students is starting to have an impact on some current students' ability to remain in school."
New freshmen at Southeastern increased from 3,476 to 3,604 this year.
"We continue to have good success in our recruitment efforts among high school students in the region," Crain added.
New academic programs in information technology and high rankings among programs in education, engineering technology, nursing and new media and animation are helping to attract new students, he said.
The top feeder parishes to the university remained the same, with 3,415 students from St. Tammany Parish and 2,141 from Tangipahoa Parish. Other parishes with high counts of Southeastern students included East Baton Rouge, 1,863; Livingston, 1,787; Ascension, 1,344; and Jefferson, 1,094.