News Release

ACT Scores Continue to Rise Among Southeastern Freshmen

Contact: Rene Abadie


     HAMMOND – The ACT scores among incoming freshmen at Southeastern Louisiana University continue to climb, a sign the university is attracting increasing numbers of highly prepared students, Southeastern officials announced today.
     Average composite ACT scores for new freshmen reached 21.7, an increase over last year’s 21.4 average. The score is above both state (20.1) and national (21.1) averages.
     “On a 36-point scale, this is significant,” said Stephen Soutullo, assistant vice president for enrollment management. “It’s an indication more and more highly prepared students are choosing Southeastern, which has been the focus of our recruitment strategies in recent years.”
     Highly qualified students – those with ACT composite scores of 24 and above – showed an increase of nearly 10 percent, rising from 634 to a record 696, according to the university’s official enrollment report.
     “The number one indicator of a student’s potential success in college is his or her preparation in high school,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain. “We’re pleased to see that our incoming freshmen ACT scores have shown steady increases in recent years. As greater numbers of our new students are highly prepared to be successful, we should continue to see further increases in our retention, progression and graduation rates.”
     “In fact, the number of continuing students increased significantly, almost 6 percent, over last year, a clear indication our retention efforts are effective in providing the support students need to stay in school and make progress toward their degrees,” stated Soutullo.
     “The enrollment report shows increases in the number of students in all classifications except freshmen,” he added. “Sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate student classifications increased from 2 percent among juniors to 3.6 percent among seniors.”
     Crain said Southeastern’s enrollment profile shows a record number of students attending on the state’s TOPS program, 3974 students compared to last year 3,795, a 4.7 percent increase.   
     The university’s overall headcount remained roughly steady at 15,160, a slight 0.4 percent decrease from last year’s numbers. Student credit hour production increased this fall as more highly prepared students tend to enroll in more courses, Crain added.
     Compared to last fall’s record freshmen headcount the number of incoming freshmen declined slightly, which Soutullo attributed to a decrease in the number of Early Start students registered for fall classes.
     Changes in the state’s funding of the Early Start program, which enables qualified high school students to take college credit courses at no cost to the student, impacted freshman numbers, he said. 
     Since state funding for this program was reduced to one course per semester, we decided to schedule most of the Early Start English classes in the spring and the college algebra sections in the fall,” he added. “As a result, the enrollment of approximately 150 students whose only class this year will be the Early Start English course have been deferred to the spring semester.”
     He added that because of the shift in enrollment patterns of the Early Start students, the annual freshmen enrollment numbers, including fall and spring semesters, should be consistent with annual freshmen numbers Southeastern has seen since the Early Start program began two years ago.
     The enrollment profile showed a two percent increase over last year in graduate students with 1,376 students enrolled, and the number of new students seeking a second degree increased from 158 last year to 180, nearly a 14 percent increase. 
     The profile shows a 2.8 percent increase in the number of students from St. Tammany Parish, up from 3,230 last year to 3,320 this year. Other top feeder parishes and their enrollment numbers include: Tangipahoa, 2,587; East Baton Rouge, 2,136; Livingston, 1,845; Jefferson, 1002; and Ascension, 846.

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