Spring semester new freshmen reflect record high ACT scores
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Freshmen entering Southeastern Louisiana University this spring registered a record high average ACT score while enrollment in developmental courses dropped significantly.
The statistics indicate the university is succeeding in its goal to attract a higher proportion of students who are well prepared for college, Southeastern officials said today.
According to official enrollment figures compiled after the 14th class day of the spring semester, the average composite ACT score for the new freshmen at Southeastern is 21.2, almost a full point higher than last year’s average and higher than both the state and national average ACT scores, said John Crain, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“With the ACT based on a 36-point scale, a one-point jump is a significant increase,” he added.
In addition, he said, the total number of students enrolled in developmental courses is down more than 17 percent.
“Those are numbers we are especially pleased with,” Crain remarked. “The higher ACT scores and the fewer students who require remedial courses generally translate into greater retention of students and progression toward a degree.”
The spring semester overall enrollment – 13,596 students -- is down approximately 3.5 percent compared to last spring’s 14,094, which the university attributes to a tightening of academic standards.
“We instituted stricter appeal guidelines for students who did not meet the required conditions to continue receiving financial aid,” he said. “In addition, students have to meet specific academic standards to remain in campus housing. In general, then, much of this decline is due to Southeastern’s ongoing efforts to ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward achieving their academic goals.”
Crain said the decline is also a trend among most colleges and universities in the state and reflects to some degree Louisiana’s declining overall population. According to the Louisiana Board of Regents, the state lost 35,000 college students due to the hurricanes of 2005. Last fall, four-year institutions in Louisiana saw an overall decline in enrollment of 11.5 percent.
The university did see a significant increase of more than 18 percent in new graduate students, as well as an increase in the number of new transfer graduate students.
This spring Southeastern enrolled 3,535 freshmen, 2,705 sophomores, 2,305 juniors, 3,487 seniors, and 1,564 graduate students. Southeastern’s major feeder parishes are St. Tammany with 2,875 students, followed by Tangipahoa (2,614), East Baton Rouge (2,047), Livingston (1,596), and Jefferson (910).