Southeastern shows increase in enrollment, Grad Act retention rates

Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: September 20, 2012

      HAMMOND –The overall student headcount at Southeastern Louisiana University this semester shows an increase over last fall, while the university also apparently is on track to meet important student success targets established by the GRAD Act, according to the university's fall semester report.

     The total headcount this semester, including all classifications, is 15,602, compared to last fall's 15,414, a 1.2 percent increase. New freshmen increased three percent, rising from last fall's 3,376 to this year's 3,476. An increase among high schools participating in Southeastern's dual enrollment program also helped to boost the overall figures.

     Southeastern President John L. Crain said he was pleased to note Southeastern appears to be on track to continue meeting its GRAD Act goals in the area of student success. Under the GRAD Act, Louisiana universities are evaluated on several performance measures, including improvement in graduation rates, student retention rates, and a number of other benchmarks related to success of students. Meeting the goals allows universities additional autonomy in setting tuition rates, while failure to reach the goals can result in significant penalties in the institution's funding.

     Crain attributed the university's continued progress in meeting performance goals – despite ongoing budget cuts – to Southeastern's dedicated faculty and staff.

     Southeastern's new freshman class includes more than 700 "highly qualified" students with ACT scores of 24 or higher. The freshman cohort recorded a composite 22.1 ACT average score.

     "We are especially pleased with this year's new freshman enrollment figures because we had anticipated a slight decline due to an increase in admission standards and higher tuition rates," Crain said. "While strong enrollment is positive for the university's budget, the impact is moderated by the fact that dual enrollment students do not pay the same tuition and fees as regular full time students. We're pleased that an increasing number of area high school students are taking advantage of Southeastern's dual enrollment program, which is a cost-effective way for them to get a head start on their college education before they graduate from high school."

     Southeastern has seen an increase in the number of partnering high schools that participate in the dual enrollment program, in which eligible 11th and 12th grade high school students have the opportunity to earn college credit. This year, more than 50 high schools in 11 area parishes are participating in Southeastern's program.

     Crain also noted that this semester 170 students are enrolled with Northshore Technical Community College on Southeastern's campus through a partnership designed to ensure post-secondary educational opportunities for students who do not meet the university's freshman admission standards.

     Noting that collaboration with community and technical colleges is an integral component of the GRAD Act, Crain said, "Our goal is to make pursuit of post-secondary education for these students as seamless as possible."

     The top six feeder parishes to Southeastern this fall are St. Tammany, 3,576; Tangipahoa, 2,327; Livingston, 1,976; East Baton Rouge, 1,892; Ascension, 1,289; and Jefferson, 1,098.

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